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MOSCOW – Top Russian defense and security officials are accusing the West of fomenting a new Cold War in a bid to retain waning influence in global affairs.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says NATO is using "the non-existent Russian threat to methodically boost its military potential" and beef up its forces near Russia's borders.
Speaking at a security conference Wednesday, Shoigu said Moscow will respond to NATO's moves by strengthening its defense capabilities to "ensure military security of Russia and its allies."
Russia-West relations have sunk to their lowest level since the Cold War following Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Tensions further escalated this month after the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain, leading to mass diplomats' expulsions by the West and Russia.