Today Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu chaired and addressed a Defence Ministry Board Session at the National Centre for State Defence Control in Moscow. The second half of his comments dwelt on plans for upgrading capabilities in the Western Military District.
Shoigu warned of mounting military threats on his nation’s Western border posed by NATO, threats increasing almost daily, and revealed his ministry’s intended response to that endangerment of Russia’s national security.
He did not provide an historical overview of NATO’s encroachment along his country’s Western border; did not, for example, describe NATO’s induction of former Warsaw Pact members the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999 and Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia five years later, which began the process of NATO moving into and effectively taking control of the Baltic and Black Seas. Nor did he itemize the Pentagon’s and NATO’s flooding those regions with fighter jets, nuclear-capable bombers, anti-ballistic missiles, training centers, cyber warfare centers, radar installations, battle groups, special forces operations and other military assets and personnel.
Instead he cited the recent escalation of NATO activities along Russia’s western frontier. Among other developments he mentioned:
- U.S. Air Force strategic bomber flights in Europe have increased fourteen times in the last seven years
- NATO guided-missile warships are deployed with increased incidence in the Baltic Sea, with such warships exercising off the coast of Russia’s Kaliningrad territory three times in the past year
- Since 2016 Russia has recorded eighteen similar deployments “to the alleged launch areas of cruise missiles”
- The Pentagon and NATO have continued to expand the scale of operational and combat training and drills near Russia’s borders
- The number of such exercises has increased by a time and a half in recent years
- The U.S. and NATO are currently conducting the largest war games since the end of the Cold War, Defender Europe – 21, with 40,000 troops participating (Shoigu’s estimate)
- That exercise has as its main objective “to practice the transfer of a full-fledged division from the United States to Europe.”
The defense chief provided diagnosis and prescription: “The actions of our Western counterparts are destroying the security system in the world and forcing us to take adequate countermeasures. We are constantly improving the combat composition of the troops. By the end of the year, about 20 formations and military units will be formed in the Western Military District.”
Try finding mention of any of the above outside the Russian news media. One fears the results of NATO’s military encirclement of Russia will only garner headlines when an irreversible catastrophe occurs.
Rick Rozoff is a contributing editor at Antiwar.com. He has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. He is the manager of Stop NATO. This originally appeared at Anti-Bellum.