Russia continues its rhetoric on the need for a stronger military. Speaking at the Kremlin meeting on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country needed to strengthen its military to fend off threats posed by NATO forces near its borders. NATO has been building up its military presence near the Russian borders as tensions between Washington and Moscow continue to escalate.

Russia Needs To Strengthen Its Military To Fend Off NATO Threats: Putin

Putin vows to push through Russia’s military modernization

Putin was interacting with graduates of Russian military academies, reports the Associated Press. He reiterated that a powerful army equipped with modern weapons was necessary to guarantee the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Russia. The Russian president vowed to push through a radical military modernization program with the procurement of a large number of modern weapons.

Russia has also been upgrading its nuclear arsenal. Last week, Putin announced that Moscow will add 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to its military. These missiles will be capable of penetrating even the most advanced missile defenses. However, Putin maintained that Moscow had no aggressive intentions. Russia is willing to settle any dispute by political means in accordance with international laws.

NATO trying to counter Russian aggression

Meanwhile, NATO announced late Wednesday that it would more than triple the capacity of its Response Force from 13,000 to 40,000 troops. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the military alliance was adapting to a “more challenging security environment.” Stoltenberg added that the alliance was carefully assessing the implications of Russian activities.

NATO has been conducting several military exercises in the wake of Russian aggression. On Monday, the Russian foreign ministry accused NATO of “sliding into a new military confrontation” that will have destructive consequences. The military alliance is also setting up six new headquarters in Estonia, Bulgaria, Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and Romania. It will also establish a Joint Logistics Headquarters to enable rapid movement of forces. NATO is also re-evaluating its nuclear strategy.

Earlier this week, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said the United States would position Bradley armored fighter vehicles, dozens of tanks, and howitzers in these six countries.