Photos taken on Monday confirm recent reports that Russia is once again massing troops and military equipment on the border with Ukraine after a major build-up this spring. The new images taken by Maxar Technologies show an accumulation of armored units, tanks and self-propelled artillery as well as ground troops massing near the Russian town of Yelnya, near the Belarusian border.
The units, which began moving in late September from other areas of Russia where they are normally based, include the 1st Guard Elite Tank Army.
Meanwhile, a new analysis from Jane’s Defense Weekly reveals that Russian 4th Armored Division equipment has been moved to areas around Bryansk and Kursk, near Ukraine’s northern border.
The units are equipped with T-80U main battle tanks and self-propelled artillery.
Russia has expressed serious concerns that Ukraine is seeking to join NATO.
EU chief fears war in Europe
The Kremlin has reiterated that any expansion of NATO’s military infrastructure in Ukraine will cross one of President Vladimir Putin’s “red lines”.
Speaking in Kiev, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba categorically rejected the idea of a Russian “red line” outside its own borders.
He said: “On our side of the Ukrainian-Russian border, we can determine for ourselves what to do in the interest of the Ukrainian people, as well as the security of Ukraine and Europe.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said: “Ukraine’s accession to NATO would be an extremely dangerous step.
The warning comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked NATO to speed up its membership application on Twitter.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently visited Ukraine.
While in Kiev, Mr. Austin was asked about Ukraine’s candidacy for NATO.
He stopped before an approval, but said Ukraine “has the right to decide its own future foreign policy” and the United States “will continue to do everything possible to support Ukraine’s efforts. to develop their ability to defend themselves “.
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Speaking of the asset build-up, the Pentagon also commented on the move.
“We are aware of public reports of unusual Russian military activity near Ukraine, but we cannot speak of Russian intentions,” Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Anton Semelroth said.
“We continue to support de-escalation in the region and a diplomatic resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. As we have said, our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is unwavering, ”he said.
Moscow has consistently reacted to similar actions by NATO forces on the Russian border.
Speaking in August, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “We are concerned about the prospects of a growing US military presence in Poland.”
“There are plans to dramatically increase the overall strength of US troops in addition to the 4,500 troops already stationed.”
“The infrastructure being created will quickly build up the US military group in this country to 20,000,” she said.
As NATO comes under scrutiny under President Donald Trump, many have questioned the existence of the alliance after the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
The geopolitical orientation shifted further and further east after the collapse of the Iron Curtain.
As tension now mounts in the Indo-Pacific region, Russia claims that NATO has yet to justify its existence by focusing on Moscow.
“As we have seen, NATO is unable to identify real threats and only begins to deal with them after a global collapse. Do you know why ? The answer is simple: for many years she has remained focused and invested enormous resources in persuading their audiences and citizens to remain fixated on an alleged Russian threat, ”said Maria Zakharova.