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Russian defense minister hails improvement of air defense system

The northwestern district troops have been reequipped and received new warplanes and air defense missile systems

MOSCOW, July 27. /TASS/. The efficiency of Russia’s air defense system in the northwestern strategic area has grown 1.5 times over the past three years, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday.

"The district troops have been reequipped and received new warplanes and the S-300V4, S-400, Buk-M2 air defense missile systems, the Pantsir-S1 combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapon system. As a result, the efficiency of the country’s anti-aircraft defense in the northwestern strategic direction has improved 1.5 times," he said.

Russia forms 13 divisions and brigades

According to the minister, Russia formed 13 divisions and brigades and 22 regiments in Southern Military District over 3 years. 

"Over 200 organizational structure measures have been carried out in the Southern Military District since 2013 to boost the troops’ combat capabilities," Shoigu said at the ministry’s board meeting.

"Four divisions, nine brigades and 22 regiments have been established, including two missile brigades armed with Iskander-M tactical missile systems that have helped build up the firepower capabilities for destroying a notional enemy, the minister said.

The number of contract servicemen has increased almost twofold. The Southern Military District has received over 4,000 new and modernized pieces of the armor, including Bastion and Bal coastal defense missile systems, as well as submarines and combat ships armed with Kalibr missiles, the defense minister said.

A self-sufficient grouping has been established on the Crimean peninsula, Shoigu said.

According to the Russian defense minister, the reinforcements have been prompted by the aggravation of the military and political situation in the south-western strategic direction.

"This is linked with the build-up of NATO’s military presence in Eastern Europe, the situation in Ukraine and the activity of international terrorist groupings, including in the North Caucasus," the defense minister said, adding that in these conditions Russia was forced "to take adequate measures."

The Russian defense minister said earlier that the Defense Ministry was compelled to respond to the build-up of NATO’s military potential in Europe, including through the formation of three new divisions in the Western and Southern Military Districts.

According to Shoigu, more than 2,000 items of new and modernized combat hardware will arrive for the Western Military District in 2016 alone.