Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered an urgent inspection of Russia’s aerospace forces in readiness for a potential war with NATO.
Putin’s unannounced inspection on Tuesday comes after Moscow announced that it would be ramping up efforts to counter provocative NATO drills in the Black Sea.
“In accordance with the decision by the Armed Forces Supreme Commander, a snap check of the Aerospace Forces began to evaluate readiness of the control agencies and troops to carry out combat training tasks,” Shoigu said at a meeting, according to Russian news Agency TASS.
The exercise, starting at 9 a.m. Moscow Time (1 a.m. EST), is aimed at evaluating Russia’s combat training readiness, according to Shoigu.
He also added: “Special attention should be paid to combat alert, deployment of air defense systems for a time of war and air groupings’ readiness to repel the aggression.”
The snap check comes days after local media reported that the U.S. tanks and infantry vehicles arrived at Tapa, a town in north Estonia, as a part of the West’s efforts to counter the Russian threat following its actions in Crimea.
“The movement of equipment and troops into and around Europe marks the beginning of a continuous rotation of armored brigade combat teams from the United States as part of Operation Atlantic Resolve,” a U.S. Defense Department statement on the deployment read.
Last year, the NATO embarked upon what its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the “biggest reinforcement of collective defense since the Cold War.”
The U.S., through Atlantic Resolve, is attempting to showcase its commitment to its allies and toward the maintenance of stability in the region “ in light of the Russian intervention in the Ukraine,” the defense department said. Russia, however, is also taking steps to counter the NATO buildup in Europe as tensions escalate.