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  • Russian Defense minister: New military bases in country's west in response to NATO

Russian Defense minister: New military bases in country's west in response to NATO
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu attends Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow, Russia April 21, 2021. (Reuters)

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday (May 20) that Moscow would create new military bases in western Russia in response to the expansion of NATO.

Shoigu said at a meeting in televised remarks: “By the end of the year, 12 military units and divisions will be established in the Western Military District."

Shoigu added that the army expects to receive more than two thousand units of military equipment and weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to pro-Western Ukraine on February 24, sending shockwaves across the world.

Moscow’s military campaign shook Sweden and Finland that - after decades of military non-alignment - decided to seek NATO membership despite warnings from the Kremlin.

Russian weapons (File photo: Facebook page)

Earlier, Finland and Sweden formally applied to join the NATO alliance, a decision spurred by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the accession process expected to take only a few weeks despite Turkey’s objections.

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday (May 18) Sweden should not expect Turkey to approve its NATO bid without returning “terrorists,” and Swedish and Finnish delegations should not come to Turkey to convince it to back their NATO bids.

Sweden and Finland submit joint NATO applications on Wednesday

Ankara said Sweden and Finland harbor people it says are linked to groups it deems terrorists, namely the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group and followers of Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt.

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