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Russia fully deploys 2 new divisions near Western border

MOSCOW — The Russian military says it has completed the deployment of two newly formed motorized infantry divisions at the nation's Western borders.

Defence 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 per cent 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.

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.

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