MOSCOW – In an unexpected development, Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered his air force to prepare for ‘a time of war’, Russia’s defence minister has revealed.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Putin has ordered the armed forces to conduct a “snap check,” a real-time assessment of their rapid deployment capabilities.

It has also been instructed to check whether agencies and troops are ready for battle, the same order will ensure that systems are ready to fight, according to state media TASS.

‘Special attention should be paid to combat alert, deployment of air defence systems for a time of war and air groupings’ readiness to repel the aggression’ Shoigu said.

The preparations come amid increasing concern about tensions between Russia and many of the world’s largest superpowers which are active in NATO.

American president Donald Trump has both condemned Russia’s military campaigns and been criticised for being too close to the country’s leaders and Russia itself is maintaining strained relation with key Nato members.

The country has been increasing movement of its military. It has also revealed plans to expand its military over 2017, including a huge boost in the number of tanks, armoured vehicles and aircraft controlled by the company, according to media reports.

Meanwhile, seven NATO countries and Ukraine are continuing their naval exercises hosted this time by Romania in the Black Sea. ‘Sea Shield 2017’ is scheduled to run between February 1 and 11.

According to the Romanian Navy, about 2,800 troops from Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Canada, US and Ukraine are taking part in the manoeuvres. The naval drills involve 16 warships and 10 warplanes and interestingly all this is happening not far from Russia’s borders.