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Russia to build up strength of missile forces, artillery by 2021 — Defense Ministry

November 19, 2015, 13:44 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"In order to build up the combat potential of the ground forces’ missile and artillery component a number of new units will be formed by 2021," the ground forces’ commander, Mikhail Matveyevsky, says

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© Yuri Smityuk/TASS

MOSCOW, November 19. /TASS/. Russia is to create several large missile and artillery units within its ground forces by 2021, the ground forces’ commander, Mikhail Matveyevsky told the media on Thursday.

"In order to build up the combat potential of the ground forces’ missile and artillery component a number of new units will be formed by 2021," he said.

Over the three years Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has been in office the structure of the armed forces underwent fundamental change. Eight large operational units, 25 divisions and 15 brigades have been formed. In 2014 the combined strategic command North was established on the basis of the Northern Fleet. In the summer of 2015 a new arm called Aerospace Force was formed to incorporate the Air Force and Air and Space Defense Force.

At the end of 2014 a national defense control center went operational. It is capable of monitoring the world situation in real time mode and controlling Russia’s Armed Forces on the national scale. Regional and territorial command centres were deployed in the military districts. A special emphasis is laid on the Western Military District.

Russia’s Defense Ministry is reinforcing the 20th combined army in the Western Military District. It should be recreated anew by December 1.

In the Western Military District there has been formed the 6th Leningrad Air Force and Air Defense Army. Also, the Western Military District has formed the 14th Air Force and Air Defense Army, with its area of responsibility consisting of 29 territories of Russia and more than 3,000 kilometers of the state border.

In the Western Military District the Defense Ministry plans to create a new tank army by December 1. The 1st Tank Army will incorporate the Tamanskaya Mechanized Infantry Division and the Kantemirovskaya Tank Division, as well as the 27th Sevastopolskaya Mechanized Infantry Brigade and the 6th Tank Brigade. Another tank army will be formed near Moscow by December.

Russia’s Armed Forces are being re-equipped by leaps and bounds. In 2014 the state defense contract stood at $25 billion, and in 2015, at $28 billion. Toward the end of 2015 the share of modern weapons and other hardware in at the disposal of the Russian Armed Forces was increased to 30%, and in some arms and services it has exceeded 70%. The share of contract servicemen is growing fast. In the spring 2014 there were 230,000 of them, and toward the end of 2015, there will be approximately 350,000 men and women service in the armed forces on contract. The General Staff expects that by 2021 the number of those serving on contract will reach half a million.

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