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Russia pulls in soldiers and equipment to the Ukrainian borders again

The RF is building up its troops near the borders of Ukraine. Photo: Ministry of Defense of the RF

The RF is building up its troops near the borders of Ukraine. Photo: Ministry of Defense of the RF

Russia is taking the same steps as in April of this year and is pulling in troops and equipment to the Ukrainian borders. The latest satellite imagery available to the outlet Politico indicates a cluster of armored units, tanks, and self-propelled artillery along with ground troops in the area of the city of Yelnya (RF) near the border with Belarus.

The experts also report on Moscow transferring the 4th Tank Division from its permanent deployment site to the northern border of Ukraine. The 1st Guards Tank Army of the Russian Federation was seen in the imagery in the same region.

Analysts stress that the transfer of forces "marks a clear deviation from the standard exercise pattern of the 1st Guards Army" traditionally taking place near Moscow.

Additionally. Recently, the Washington Post also wrote about the Kremlin's pulling in of the troops to the Ukrainian borders. Michael Kofman, Research Program Director in the Russia Studies Program at the nonprofit research and analysis organization CNA, told the publication that the Kremlin's current actions did not look like exercises.

He added that after the joint maneuvers West 2021 with Belarus, the 41st Combined Arms Army of the RF had not returned to its permanent place of deployment, joining the soldiers who had already been in positions near the Ukrainian border.

Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC), stated that after the completion of the West 2021 exercises, the Russian side had left military equipment and communication centers near Ukraine’s border. According to his estimates, 80,000-90,000 Russian soldiers are now stationed near Ukraine. About 10,000 more are in the occupied Crimea.

Context. In 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his team have repeatedly noted that the expansion of NATO activities in Ukraine is a "red line" for Moscow.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who visited Ukraine in October, noted that no third country had the right to influence Ukraine's determination of its future foreign policy. He also stressed that Russia was the culprit of the armed conflict in Donbas, and the United States would continue to provide Ukraine with the necessary support in the conflict with the Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, Russia itself is in a state of diplomatic confrontation with the alliance. Last month, some time before the annual conference of NATO Defense Ministers, the bloc expelled eight Russian diplomats, accusing them of espionage. In response, the Kremlin closed its mission to NATO.

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