NATO boosted aerial surveillance near Russian borders by 20pc in 2019: Russian defense minister

Sergei Shoigu has pointed out that “a number of countries use any pretext to build up a military presence near Russia's borders”.

Russia's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday said that NATO’s air reconnaissance intensity near Russia's borders increased by 20 percent in 2019. 

“The military and political situation in the South-West strategic direction remains difficult. In an effort to block Russia's participation in solving global and regional problems, an array countries use any pretext to build up a military presence near our borders”, Shoigu underscored.

He recalled that last year, 25 NATO warships were alternately on missions in the Black Sea and that every third such vessel had cruise missiles on board.

According to him, “since the beginning of this year, NATO aviation has completed more than 80 reconnaissance flights along our territory”.

Earlier this month, the Russian military reported detecting 25 foreign aircraft engaged in reconnaissance activities near the country’s borders, with fighters scrambled twice to prevent illegal entry into Russian airspace.

Late last month, the US deployed the USS Ross guided-missile destroyer into the Black Sea. The Russian Navy, for its part, assured observers that it had the capability to monitor the warship’s movement.

Moscow has repeatedly condemned the US and its NATO allies over their maritime war games, as well as drone and spy plane flights and bomber drills near Russia’s borders, warning that such behaviour only serves to stoke tensions. The alliance has repeatedly turned a deaf ear to these objections.

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