Nato Russia military buildup
Nato and US flags flutter as US Air Force F-22 Raptor fighter flies over the military air base in Siauliai, Lithuania Ints Kalnins/Reuters

Russia is creating three new military divisions to counter Nato's build-up in the eastern flank, further scaling up tensions in the region. The reinforcements to Moscow's southern and western units are to be deployed by the end of 2016.

Russia's swift response has come hours after Nato announced plans to boost its troop deployment in Poland and the Baltic countries. The alliance's new supreme commander US General Curtis Scaparroti, who kicked off his three-year term on 4 May, said he would "strengthen" Nato's position in the wake of Moscow's advances.

At the takeover ceremony, Scaparroti said: "In today's challenging security environment, trans-Atlantic cooperation is needed more than ever. Even with the end of the Cold War, our Nato alliance [...] remains vital as we face a new set of challenges."

Nato officials had earlier said they would shore up its presence by deploying four battalions of about 4,000 troops to Poland and the Baltics.

While responding to the situation, Moscow's Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said: "The Defense Ministry is taking a number of measures to counteract the buildup of Nato forces in the immediate vicinity of Russian borders. Two new divisions will be set up in the Western Military District and one division in the Southern Military District until the end of the year," according to Russia's Tass News agency.

He added: "I have given instructions to use the most advanced construction solutions to build the facilities. Specifically, block-modular structures will be used. The flow-line production technology and the delivery of modules allow erecting buildings within three or four weeks at the longest."

Tensions between Russia and the Western world have resulted in frequent aerial confrontations and war of words. Moscow is upset at Nato's growing presence in the region, especially in the ex-Soviet nations.