Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on May 4 that Moscow will set up three new military divisions in the west and south of the country by the end of 2016 in response to what he called “the buildup of NATO forces in close proximity to Russia's borders."
Russia's military first announced the creation of the new divisions in January, saying the move was a "response to intensified exercises of NATO countries."
Shoigu’s statement came a day after U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter urged Russia to stop"going backwards" towards the Cold War era with "saber-rattling" and aggressive actions that have put NATO on high alert.
Carter was speaking in Germany at an inauguration ceremony for NATO’s new European commander, U.S. Army General Curtis Scaparrotti.
Carter cited Russia's intervention in eastern Ukraine, its illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, and efforts by Moscow to intimidate its Baltic neighbors.