MOSCOW, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Russia will strengthen defense in its western and eastern military districts due to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ramping up activities near its borders, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.
"To neutralize emerging threats, we will be implementing a set of measures," Shoigu said at a meeting with senior Defense Ministry officials.
He said the military-political situation in the western strategic direction remains tense due to the strengthening of NATO's military presence in eastern Europe, the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system in Poland and Romania, and the expansion of alliance's military cooperation with Finland and Sweden.
Russia will take measures this year in its western military district to improve the preparedness of the troops, including its coastal forces, the air defense forces and logistics, Shoigu said.
Troops in the western military district will receive more than 1,300 new and modernized armaments and military hardware by the end of the year, the minister said.
In the eastern military district, measures will also be taken "to adequately respond to the existing and potential challenges," including the formation of a mixed aviation division and an anti-aircraft missile brigade, he said.
By the end of the year, the eastern military district will receive 1,743 armaments and pieces of military hardware, Shoigu said.
Over 120 drills are planned to be held across the country before the end of the year, including the Russia-Belarus "Union Shield-2019" that will involve up to 12,000 troops and 950 units of military hardware.