(QHA) -

Russia needs to increase its military presence in Crimea because of the crisis in Ukraine, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said.

Shoigu said Russia must also respond to an increase of "foreign military" in the "immediate vicinity" of Russian borders.

Shoigu was speaking to a meeting of the Russian Defense Ministry's board, and added that the situation in Ukraine had "dramatically deteriorated," creating the need for more Russian forces.

He said the deployment of "proper and self-sufficient forces in the direction of Crimea" is one of the Russian military's top priorities.

Russia annexed Crimean peninsula in March, following local referendum on region’s status, which Kyiv and the West found illegitimate.

QHA