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Iran Press TV

Russia, Pakistan to hold first ever joint military exercise

Iran Press TV

Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:31AM

Russia says it is set to hold its first ever drills with Pakistan this year as part of Moscow's efforts to reinforce its army amid NATO's increased military build-up at the Russian doorstep.

Russian Army Commander-in-Chief Oleg Salyukov announced that the joint Moscow-Islamabad maneuver would be one of the seven military exercises planned to be held in 2016 "as part of interaction with our foreign colleagues."

He did not give details on the exact location of the drills, but said they would take place on mountainous terrain.

The senior military official said Moscow planned to create four new military divisions this year in the western and central regions of the country.

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a document that declared NATO a threat to the country's national security. The document is a response to a rising military presence by NATO countries in Eastern Europe and the Baltics.

Last September, Russia launched its largest military drill of 2015, involving 7,000 items of military equipment and some 95,000 infantry, navy and air force units.

Relations between Russia and the Western military alliance sharply cooled after Crimea's separation from Ukraine and reunification with the Russia following a referendum in March 2014.

Moscow-West ties hit a new low after Ukraine launched military operations in April 2014 to silence pro-Russia protests in the mainly Russian-speaking regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev and its Western allies accuse the Kremlin of meddling in Ukraine's internal affairs and backing pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine. Russia has resolutely denied the claims.

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