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MAJOR ESCALATION: Russia Preparing For Invasion Of Ukraine

After Russia's annexation of Crimea and subsequent operations in Donetsk and Luhansk, which ultimately came to a stalemate with Ukraine, news is now breaking that Russia has amassed some 40,000 troops and armor along Ukraine's eastern border.  Here is an excerpt from The Washington Free Beacon:

The Pentagon has identified eight staging areas in Russia where large numbers of military forces appear to be preparing for incursions into Ukraine, according to U.S. defense officials.

As many as 40,000 Russian troops, including tanks, armored vehicles, and air force units, are now arrayed along Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia.

Additionally, large numbers of Russian military forces will conduct exercises in the coming days that Pentagon officials say could be used as cover for an attack on Ukraine.

...

The military exercises are an ominous sign. Similar large-scale Russian exercises were conducted near Ukraine a month before Moscow carried out the covert military operation to take over the strategic Black Sea peninsula in March 2014.

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However, over the past several months large numbers of Russian troops and tanks have been moving into eight bases stretching from Yelnya, near Smolensk and northeast of Ukraine, southward through Rostov—a city located very close to eastern Ukraine.

Defense officials said it is not clear whether the massing of forces is saber rattling by Moscow designed to coerce Ukraine into accepting the takeover of Crimea or preparations for further conflict. “Regardless of the reason, the warning time for Russian action has been greatly reduced” by the staging of forces near Ukraine, a second defense official said.

Russian military forces were identified by the officials at eight locations near the Ukrainian border: Yelnya, Klintsy, Valuyki, Boguchar, Millerovo, Persianovskiy, and bases called Rostov-1 and Rostov-2.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Russia is continuing aggression and threats against the rest of Ukraine after invading Crimea.

“This is unacceptable and will only serve to further instability in the region,” Pompeo said. “Unfortunately, President Obama is once again ‘leading from behind’ and is doing nearly nothing to buttress the Ukrainian people. Mr. Putin must respect the sovereignty of other nations. This is a non-negotiable lesson most countries learned long ago.”

Wire service reports and online blogs have revealed satellite photos of the Russian military buildup at the eight locations.

Reuters reported in June on the deployment of troops to Klintsy, and the website InformNapalm reported July 30 that armored units of the 28th Motorized Rifle Brigade were moved to a base near Valuyki, and at Rostov.

A Russian military training camp reportedly was set up at Persianovskiy, located about 28 miles north of Rostov, according to a report by the online news outlet Bellingcat. Troops and aircraft at Millerovo also have been identified in satellite photos since 2015.

Reuters reported in September that a Russian military base was being set up near Boguchar, and the blog Russian Military Analysis reported that a motorized rifle brigade was deployed last year to Yelnya. Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon official, said the troop movements are worrying signs that Moscow may be preparing for war with Ukraine. “There is lot of press in the last week about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine including massing of troops,” said Schneider, now with the National Institute for Public Policy.


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