Pune, India. 09 June 2021. Russia’s military is set to form 20 new units in the country’s west this year to counter what it claims is a growing threat from NATO, said the Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. He made the announcement at a meeting with top military officials after acknowledging the growing number of flights by US strategic bombers near Russia’s borders, the deployments of NATO warships, and the frequent drills by the alliance forces.

He charged that such actions “destroy the international security system and force us to take the relevant countermeasures.” “We will form another 20 units and formations in the Western Military District until the year’s end,” Shoigu said. He also mentioned that military units in Western Russia have commissioned about 2,000 new pieces of weaponry this year.

When asked about Russia’s plans, the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg commented that “Russia over the last years has invested heavily in new, modern military capabilities, from conventional to nuclear weapon systems” and “has been willing to use military force against neighbours, in Georgia, in Ukraine.” “This is one of the main reasons why NATO over the last years has increased the readiness of (its) armed forces,” he told reporters before a meeting with the alliance’s foreign and defence ministers.

Currently, thousands of NATO troops, several warships and dozens of aircraft are taking part in military exercises stretching across the Atlantic, through Europe and into the Black Sea region. While NATO claims the war games aren’t aimed at Russia, the Steadfast Defender 21 exercises are simulating the 30-nation military organization’s response to an attack on any one of its members. The exercise is designed to test NATO’s ability to deploy troops from the US and keep supply lines open.

The revised national security strategy comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin prepares for a summit with US President Joe Biden on June 16 in Geneva.

Nikolai Patrushev, the Secretary of the Russian Presidential Security Council said that the document foresees that Moscow could take “symmetric and asymmetric measures to thwart or avert unfriendly actions that threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation.”