MOSCOW — The Russian military says it has completed the deployment of two newly formed motorized infantry divisions at the nation's Western borders.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Tuesday the two divisions are stationed in the Belgorod, Voronezh and Smolensk regions near Russia's border with Ukraine and Belarus.
He said volunteer contract soldiers make up 70 percent of their strength, but didn't specify how many soldiers the two divisions have. Russia maintains the compulsory one-year draft, but has increasingly sought to enlist volunteers for longer terms of duty to boost the military capability.
In this photo taken on Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016, Chairman of the Russian Geographical Society's (RGO) Board of Trustees, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Russian Defense Minister and the RGO President Sergei Shoigu attend the RGO award ceremony at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Russia. The Russian Geographical Society award recognizes work in national geography, ecology, and preserving and popularizing Russia's natural, historical and cultural heritage.
Photo Credit: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik via AFP/Getty Images
Shoigu said the military has built dozens of new facilities to house and train the troops.
The deployment comes amid continuing tensions with the West after Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea and support for pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.