Russia’s defense minister has claimed that Western countries are trying to prolong and escalate the conflict FILE PHOTO. A member of the Foreign Legion prepares his equipment © Getty Images / Chris McGrath

Western countries are forcing Kiev to show tactical successes on the battlefield regardless of the cost to human lives and “pumping” the country full of weapons and fighters, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu has said.

Speaking at a meeting of the council of defense ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Minsk on Thursday, the Russian minister said the value of the West’s military-technical assistance to Kiev has already exceeded $65 billion and more than 2,500 foreign mercenaries are currently taking part in military operations in the country.

He also claimed that Kiev’s tactics have evolved to include terrorist methods of confrontation, including sabotage and high-profile killings.

“The most tense situation today has developed in the Eastern European region. The West is forcing the Kiev regime, regardless of losses, to show tactical successes and willingness to fight ‘to the last Ukrainian’ and pumping it with weapons,” Shoigu said.

He claimed that this would only lead to further escalation and prolong the conflict. Shoigu suggested that this was being done intentionally and that NATO had been using the Ukraine crisis as an excuse to build up its military capabilities and modernize its infrastructure in Central and Eastern Europe.

West waging ‘undeclared war’ on Russia and Belarus – Moscow West waging ‘undeclared war’ on Russia and Belarus – Moscow

Shoigu claimed the US and its allies are intentionally creating hotbeds of tension and provoking crises near the borders of CSTO members, leading to an “extremely unstable” military-political situation in these areas. The minister accused the West of providing support for terrorist and extremist structures, and also using sanctions, threats and blackmail to achieve their goals of destabilizing the region.

On Thursday, Shoigu also spoke with his Belarusian counterpart Viktor Khrenin. During their meeting, he explained that the West was waging an “undeclared war” against Russia and Belarus and that NATO’s military activity had taken a “most aggressive direction.”

In response to the West’s “increasingly aggressive rhetoric” and joint “nuclear missions,” which involve drills on deploying weapons of mass destruction, Moscow and Minsk officially signed a nuclear weapons deal on Thursday, allowing the deployment of Russian tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus.

Shoigu explained that control over the weapons remains in Moscow’s hands, but noted that “additional measures” could be taken going forward in order to ensure the security of the Union State of Russia and Belarus. (RT)