By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Russia says it will deploy state-of-the art missile defense systems to the far eastern Kurile Islands where Moscow and Tokyo have rival territorial claims.
“Already this year they will get Bal and Bastion coastal missile systems as well as new-generation Eleron-3 unmanned aerial vehicles,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on March 25.
Shoigu said the new weapons were part of a drive to rearm military units already deployed in the Kuriles.
He said Russia’s navy was also mulling the possibility of setting up a naval base in the region.
Shoigu also said new units in the Western Military District will be formed, saying the deployment of NATO’s forces near Russia’s borders requires a response.
Military forces in western Russia will receive 1,100 new weapons systems, including aircraft, military helicopters, and tanks, he also said.