As the confrontation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) increases, Russia is building up an army base in the town of Klintsy while the Western Alliance is carrying out major military exercises as a display of strength. There are large numbers of servicemen and military vehicles arriving near Russia’s border with Ukraine, as well as a makeshift army camp, according to Reuters.

Council Deputy Chairman Oleg Kletny said he had nothing to hide, acknowledging that Klintsy would welcome a new division and that about 240 soldiers had arrived so far, Reuters reported. He remarked that the forces would be garrisoned in the town, which is located about 30 miles from Ukraine.

NATO-Moscow tensions
Russian soldiers walk as a local resident waves with Russian flag outside of a Ukrainian military camp. Credit:

As for the defense ministry, he is yet to admit the evident deployment of troops to a town where truck drivers usually stop when traveling between Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus.

Once it is completed, the army base will be part of a build-up of Russian forces along a line extending from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south. Two soldiers told a Reuters reporter that they were guarding a “special military site.” Russia says it needs to take action to protect itself from the Western alliance’s eastward advance.

On the other hand, NATO has been rotating equipment and troops to member states as it argues it is acting based on a Russian military intervention in Ukraine. The alliance launched this week a 10-day military exercise near Warsaw, Poland, marking the largest deployment of foreign allied troops in that country in peace time.

NATO says its movement called Anaconda-2016 is all about a test of cooperation between allied forces in responding to chemical, military and cyber threats, according to a report by The Guardian.

The exercise will involve 31,000 troops from the United States, Poland, Britain, and others from non-NATO nations. Anaconda-2016, managed by Poland’s Lt Gen Marek Tomaszycki, will also include thousands of vehicles from 24 countries.

Operations on Tuesday include an airdrop with 1,130 parachutists over Toruń, including 230 British troops and 500 US ones. Engineers are set to build a bridge to carry 300 vehicles over the Vistula River, and 35 helicopters will be involved in a night-time assault, The Guardian reported.

Any mishap could increase tensions and even trigger offensive responses

NATO’s allies in the region have approved the exercise, but defense experts believe that any failure in the plans could trigger an offensive response from Russia, according to Reuters.

Moscow is free to move additional hardware and troops to its western border since it is no longer involved in the pact on Conventional Forces in Europe. This treaty dates back to the post-Cold War time when it limited the deployment of troops in the continent.

The Russian troops will be billeted in a temporary camp in a forest until their permanent army base is completed, as the Reuters reporter informed. About a dozen servicemen were buying food supplies at a gas station near the camp, where road spikes and antitank obstacles blocked off the way.

The town of Klintsy is located 280 km of Kiev, the Ukranian capital, meaning that the army base is being built in the closest area on Russian territory to Ukraine.

Source: Reuters