Russia says it strengthens military forces in Europe in response to NATO

By Reuters - March 5, 2024
Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attends a meeting at a Russian military command centre in a location given as Russian-controlled Ukraine, in this picture released February 24, 2024. Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo


Moscow (Reuters) – Russia has strengthened its military forces in the north and west of the country to counter what Moscow perceives as a build-up of NATO forces near Russia, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday.

In response to Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Finland has joined NATO and Sweden is on the point of doing so. NATO is this week conducting a military exercise called Nordic Response 2024 which it says will involve more than 20,000 soldiers in Norway, Finland and Sweden and will focus on collective defence.

“Against the background of a build-up of NATO’s military potential near the Russian borders, the expansion of the alliance through the accession of Finland and, in the future, Sweden, we have taken steps to strengthen the groupings of troops in the north-western and western strategic directions,” Shoigu told top generals, without providing details.

The war in Ukraine has triggered the deepest crisis in Russia’s relations with the West since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and President Vladimir Putin has warned the West that it risks provoking a nuclear war if Western troops are sent to fight in Ukraine.


(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)