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MOSCOW, July 26. /TASS/. Russia has no choice but to keep beefing up its combat capabilities in the Southern Military District taking symmetric measures to neutralize threats to its national security, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Wednesday.
"Under the current conditions, Russia is forced to take symmetric measures on eliminating emerging threats to national security, to take measures of strategic deterrence, and to increase combat capabilities in the Southern Military District," Shoigu stated.
According to the defense chief, a total of 16 planes from the US and British tactical air forces have been deployed on a permanent basis in Romania since April. Beginning this year the United States alone conducted over 130 reconnaissance flights along Russia’s southern borders.
Moreover, he said, large-scale NATO military drills, involving over 25,000 troops from 22 countries wrapped up several days ago on the western coast of the Black Sea.
The minister said that one of the important steps in the direction of increasing the military potential in the Southern Military District was the formation of the combined-arms army in March 2017.
"Moreover, we have formed four battalions of military police, who are currently implementing tasks in de-escalation zones in Syria," Shoigu stated.
The defense minister added that all organizational efforts are aligned with supplies of modern weapons and military hardware.
"Over 600 items of weapons and military hardware were supplied to the Southern Military District over the past six months," he said adding that combat and command staff trainings are constantly underway in the Southern Military District, where over 1,500 military drills and live fire exercises were held since the beginning of the year.
"Therefore, we can speak about the positive dynamics in the organization of events on the combat training," Shoigu said.
According to Shoigu, a number of foreign countries are building up military presence by Russia’s borders, as they view Moscow’s actions in the Middle East and Transcaucasus as a threat,
"Our active actions to stabilize the situation in the Middle East and support peace in Transcaucasus are viewed by some countries as a threat to their national and allies’ interests. In an effort to block Russia’s participation in the solution to global and regional problems, some countries persevere their attempts to use military force to achieve their geopolitical goals and build up (their) military presence by the Russian borders," Shoigu noted.