What Happened: Russia will form a mixed air division and an anti-aircraft missile brigade in the country's eastern military district, according to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Tass reported Aug. 21. Shoigu accused the United States of attempting to expand its influence in the Asia-Pacific and undermining Russian and Chinese positions in Southeast Asia.
Why It Matters: Shoigu's comments come as the United States is planning to increase its military footprint in the western Pacific following the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty — an act that would most likely trigger a Russian response. With Moscow increasing its military cooperation with Beijing, a more substantial U.S. security presence will drive China and Russia to explore additional areas of coordination.
Background: On Aug. 5, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow would take measures to defend itself if the United States deploys missiles to the Asian theater.
- The U.S. Will Find Few Takers in the Western Pacific for Its Missiles (Aug. 21, 2019)
- Russia's New Arms Give the U.S. Room for Pause (Aug. 16, 2019)
- The Sun Sets on an Arms Control Treaty (Aug. 2, 2019)