MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. Two strategic territorial formations, the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts, need to be re-established in the Russian Armed Forces, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said at this year’s final Defense Ministry board meeting with the participation of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.
"Considering NATO’s plans to beef up its military potential near the Russian borders and to expand the North Atlantic alliance by admitting Finland and Sweden … two multiservice strategic territorial formations, the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts, need to be established," Shoigu said.
The Russian defense chief also pointed to the need to improve the structure of military branches of the Russian Armed Forces and raise responsibility of operational military commands for training and employing large units and armies.
Shoigu proposed re-establishing the Moscow and Leningrad Military Districts and setting up ten new divisions: five artillery, two air assault and three motorized infantry formations (with two of the latter to be stationed in the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions).
The existing brigades will be used as the basis for deploying another seven motorized infantry and five marine infantry divisions, the defense minister said.
Shoigu also spoke for setting up three operational commands of aviation divisions, one fighter and eight bomber aviation regiments and six army aviation brigades in the Russian Aerospace Forces. Each combined arms army and tank army should have a composite aviation division and an army aviation brigade of 80-100 combat helicopters, he said.
Putin backed the defense chief’s proposals. He assured that the Russian Armed Forces would be developing "calmly, rhythmically, without any haste and persistently" while the country would not repeat mistakes of the past. "We will not engage in militarization of the country and militarization of the economy," he stressed.
Russia’s special military operation
On February 21, President Vladimir Putin announced that Moscow was recognizing the sovereignty of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Russia signed agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual assistance with their leaders. Moscow recognized the Donbass republics in accordance with the DPR and LPR constitutions within the boundaries of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions as of the beginning of 2014.
Russian President Putin announced on February 24 that in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics for assistance, he had decided to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine. The DPR and the LPR launched an operation to liberate their territories under Kiev’s control.
From September 23 to September 27, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Lugansk People’s Republic as well as the Kherson Region and the Zaporozhye Region held a referendum where the majority of voters opted to join Russia.
On September 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin and the heads of the DPR, the LPR, and the Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions signed treaties on their accession to Russia. Later, the State Duma and the Federation Council (the lower and upper houses of Russia’s parliament) approved legislation on ratifying these treaties, as well as federal constitutional laws on the accession of the four regions to Russia.