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Russia To Beef Up Western Border; Baltic Fleet Chief Sacked


Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says Russia is beefing up its western border by deploying “2,000 units of new and modernized equipment” in what he cast as a response to a NATO buildup in Eastern Europe.

Shoigu told defense officials in Moscow on June 29 that "the military and political situation on [Russia's] western borders remains unstable."

He said the United States and other NATO members are continuing "to increase their military potential, primarily in countries neighboring Russia."

Shoigu was referring to NATO's plans to deploy new battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, the easternmost members of the translatlantic military alliance that were shaken by Russia’s lightning annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula in spring 2014.

The Kremlin has condemned those plans along with the deployment of a missile shield in Eastern Europe as direct threats to Russia's national security.

On June 29, Shoigu also announced he had sacked the commander of Russia's Baltic Fleet, Viktor Kravchuk, and the fleet's chief of staff, Sergei Popov, for "dereliction of duty" and "distorting the real state of things."

Based on reporting by Reuters, dpa, and The Moscow Times

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