Russia’s defense minister, Sergey Shoigu, said Moscow will be forced to take certain defensive measures, in the face of NATO’s planned troop deployments in Eastern Europe. Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Shoigu accused NATO of undermining the region’s strategic stability, according to the RBC news agency.
NATO has announced plans to send an additional 4,000 alliance troops to the region. The final deployment is expected early next year.
“On the western border of [Russia and Belarus], the U.S. and other NATO members are actively building up their offensive potential, opening new bases and developing their infrastructure,” Shoigu told reporters.
NATO officials, meanwhile, say the organization’s actions are designed to reassure alliance members that were former Soviet states.
The growing presence of NATO troops and weaponry in Eastern Europe became a hot international issue following Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, with many alliance members — particularly the small countries on Russia’s borders — worried that NATO’s eastern flank is vulnerable to Russian aggression.