Satellite Images Show New Concentration of Russian Military Forces along Ukraine's Borders
New commercial satellite imagery taken on Monday confirms recent reports that Russia is re-accumulating troops and military equipment on the border with Ukraine after a major concentration of forces this spring, Politico reported.
The new photos, taken by Maxar Technologies and shared with POLITICO, show an accumulation of armored units, tanks and self-propelled artillery, along with ground forces gathering near the Russian town of Elnya near the Belarusian border. The units, which began moving in late September from other parts of Russia where they are usually based, include the elite 1st Guards Tank Army.
Meanwhile, a new analysis by Jane’s on Monday revealed that equipment from Russia’s 4th Panzer Division had been relocated to areas around Bryansk and Kursk near Ukraine’s northern border. The units are equipped with main battle tanks T-80U and self-propelled artillery. Elements of the 1st Guards Tank Army were also spotted in the area.
The military is "designed to conduct operations at every level of combat, from insurgent warfare to mechanized warfare and new equipment and tactics." Jane's analysis said.The deployment "marks a clear departure from the standard training model of the 1st Guards Tank Army,"which usually takes place around Moscow”, Jane's said.
Tensions between Moscow and the West have escalated in recent months after Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed dissatisfaction with new talks on Ukraine and Georgia's possible accession to NATO and when Defense Minister Lloyd Austin visited the two countries in October. While in Kiev, Austin was asked about Ukraine's bid to join NATO. He did not openly agree, 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 its defense capabilities," he added.
Days later, Putin responded in a speech in Sochi, warning that "formal NATO membership may never happen" for Ukraine, "but military expansion is already under way and this really poses a threat to Russia Federation, we are aware of that.” The Washington Post reported for the first time the troop build-up on Saturday. Reuters later quoted Ukraine's defense ministry as denying the Post's report, saying that the transfer of more Russian troops, weapons and equipment to the border with Ukraine had not been "registered" since Monday.
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