MOSCOW – Russia's defense minister said on Wednesday the security situation near the nation's borders has worsened because of NATO's activities.
Sergei Shoigu, speaking on a trip to Russia's westernmost Kaliningrad region, pointed at the alliance's exercise in the Baltics as an example of NATO's growing presence in the area.
Shoigu added that the large-scale drills reflect NATO's "anti-Russian course."
He said the military will form 20 new units along its western frontiers by the year's end. Later this year, Russia and Belarus will hold the West-2017 war games.
Russian state TV showed footage of a NATO F-16 fighter jet shadowing Shoigu's plane as it was approaching Kaliningrad. A Russian Su-27 fighter then edged in between the minister's plane and the NATO jet to ward it off.
Later on Wednesday, Russia news agencies reported that several NATO fighter jets were escorting Shoigu's plane over the Baltic Sea as he was returning from Kaliningrad to Moscow but did not try to get close to it.