Russia’s military reforms respond to NATO expansion, Ukraine Chief of General Staff

  • Reforms call for the creation of two additional military districts
  • Army Corps is stationed near the border with Finland
  • Armed forces will be reinforced in areas Moscow claims to annex

23 Jan. (Reuters) – Russia’s new military reforms come in response to possible NATO expansion and the use of Kiev by the “collective West” to wage a hybrid war against Russia, said the newly appointed general in charge of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine.

Valery Gerasimov also admitted in his first public remarks since taking office on January 11 that he had trouble mobilizing troops after President Vladimir Putin was forced by public criticism to reprimand the military.

The military reforms, announced in mid-January, have been approved by Putin and can be modified to respond to threats to Russian security, Gerasimov told news website Argumenty i Fakty in remarks published late Monday.

“Today, such threats include the North Atlantic Alliance’s aspirations to expand into Finland and Sweden, as well as the use of Ukraine as a tool for waging a hybrid war against our country,” said Gerasimov, who is also the head of Russia. is. military general staff.

Finland and Sweden applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization last year after Russia invaded Ukraine.

Under Moscow’s new military plan, an army corps will be added to Karelia in northern Russia, which borders Finland.

The reforms also call for two additional military districts, Moscow and Leningrad, that existed before being merged in 2010 to form part of the Western Military District.

In Ukraine, Russia will add three motorized rifle divisions as part of combined arms formations in the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, which Moscow claims it annexed in September.

“The main purpose of this work is to guarantee the protection of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country,” said Gerasimov.

‘ACT AGAINST THE ENTIRE COLLECTIVE WEST’

Gerasimov added that modern Russia has never seen such an “intensity of military hostilities”, forcing it to launch offensive operations to stabilize the situation.

“Our country and its armed forces are acting today against the entire collective West,” Gerasimov said.

In the 11 months since invading Ukraine, Russia has shifted its rhetoric on the war from an operation to “denazify” and “demilitarize” its neighbor to an increasingly strong defense against an aggressive West.

Kiev and its Western allies are calling it an unprovoked act of aggression, and the West is sending increasingly heavy weapons to Ukraine to help it resist Russian forces.

Gerasimov and the Defense Ministry leadership have come under sharp criticism for multiple battlefield setbacks and Moscow’s failure to secure victory in a campaign the Kremlin had expected to last only a short time.

The country’s mobilization of some 300,000 additional personnel in the fall was chaotic.

“The system of mobilization training in our country was not fully adapted to the new modern economic conditions,” said Gerasimov. “So I had to fix everything along the way.”

Written by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Edited by Himani Sarkar

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

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