Russia establishes two military districts in response to expansion of NATO borders: Defence chief

Russian defense minister says Leningrad, Moscow military districts formed in response to Finland, Sweden joining NATO

Anadolu Agency March 05, 2024
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. PHOTO: ANADOLU AGENCY


Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Tuesday that his country established two new military districts in response to the expansion of NATO borders.

Speaking at a meeting with Russian military chiefs in Moscow, Shoigu said the decision was made in response to Finland's and Sweden's accession to the alliance.

"Due to the 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 northwestern and western strategic directions.

"Two strategic territorial associations of the Armed Forces have been created – the Leningrad and Moscow Military Districts," he said.

Read also: Putin warns of nuclear war risk if NATO troops are sent to Ukraine

In May 2022, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO, abandoning their long-standing policy of military neutrality, after Russia launched its "special military operation" in Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

Finland's accession to NATO took place on April 4, 2023. Initially, Hungary and Türkiye opposed Sweden's application due to existing controversies over counter-terrorism issues. However, in July 2023, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that the two countries had found common ground, and Ankara lifted its objection.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Budapest would also not block Sweden's entry and would support its membership.

Sweden completed its membership procedures last month and is due to join officially.


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