Europe

Putin tells military to be ready for threats at border

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at an annual meeting marking a professional holiday for Russian security service employees in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at an annual meeting marking a professional holiday for Russian security service employees in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016. (Alexei Nikolsky, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

Russian President Vladimir Putin told an annual end-of-year meeting with the defense ministry to be ready for potential threats at the Russian border.

Speaking at the defense ministry on Thursday Putin said the Russian military should follow closely any military movement along its border as well changes "in the military and political situation globally" and be prompt in "adjusting plans to neutralize potential threats to our country."

Tensions between Russia and the West escalated after Russia's annexation in Crimea in 2014 and its involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Last year, Russia began an air force operation in Syria to support President Bashar Assad that's irked the U.S. in particular.

Both Russia and NATO members conducted a flurry of military drills near the Russian border this year.