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Russia To Create New Military Divisions In Response To NATO

Russian soldiers take part in military exercises in the southern Volgograd region. (file photo)

Russia will form four new divisions of ground forces in 2016 in response to "intensified" NATO military exercises.

General Oleg Salyukov told journalists in Moscow on January 21 that the "formation of the new divisions is one of the measures to be taken in response to the intensified exercises of NATO countries that we have seen in recent times."

One of the divisions will be stationed with the central group of forces, while three will be with Russia's western group of military forces. All of them will be assembled on the basis of existing brigades.

Salyukov also said Russia will conduct seven joint military exercises with foreign countries in 2016, including the first-ever joint exercise with Pakistan and one with Vietnam.

He also said that there are currently no Russian ground forces on the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, but that they could be sent there at short notice if so ordered.

Based on reporting by RIA-Novosti, TASS, and Interfax