Russia Moving Military Equipment To Border With Ukraine
UKRAINE - Satellite photos reportedly show Russia moving military equipment 250 kilometers from their border with the Ukraine, who has deployed combat drones along the front lines in the Donbas region, raising renewed concerns of a possible coming conflict between the two countries.
US Department of Defense spokesman John Kirby stated that the Pentagon is "aware of public reports of unusual Russian military activity near Ukraine", with satellite images showing Russian military equipment being transported to a training area about 186 miles away from their border with the Ukraine.
Satellite images show tanks, self propelled guns and infantry fighting vehicles being transported to the training area. The Ukraine however stated that they have recorded no "additional transfer of Russian units, weapons and military equipment to the state border of Ukraine".
The Ukrainian Defense Ministry has estimated that there are about 90,000 Russian troops stationed "near the border and in the temporarily occupied territories" including the Black Sea region.
The Ukraine Defense Ministry has stated that Russia has been "transferring and accumulating military units for the purpose of maintaining tension in the region and political pressure on neighboring countries".
Kirby said that the United States is closely observing the situation, "I can't speak for Russian intentions, but we are certainly monitoring the region closely, as we always do. Any escalatory or aggressive actions would be of great concern to the United Sates".
Dmitry Peskov, a Russian diplomat and spokesman spoke to reporters and said, "The movement of our military equipment or army units across the territory of the Russian Federation is exclusively our business. Russia has never threatened anyone, is not threatening, and does not pose a danger to anyone".
A study funded by the European Union and Germany focused on armaments shows that Russia has been continually supplying separatist forces with weapons and ammunition in order to fan the flames in the conflict.
During the study, the report entitled "Weapons of War in Ukraine" said that they examined recovered weapons and traced their serial numbers, as well as other identifying marks all the way back to their manufacturers which provided, "a window into a largely forgotten conflict that, since early 2014, has persisted on the edge of Europe".
Russia has long said that it is not transferring arms to the Ukraine even after governments in the West tracked and documented weapons and arms moving across the border, which included an anti-aircraft system that shot down a civilian airliner in 2014.
The new satellite photos taken by Maxar Technologies show that Russia is not only building up around 1,000 armored military vehicles and tanks, but also amassing ground troops near Yelnya, a Russian town close to Russia's border with Belarus. Russia's 4th Tank Division has also been moved to locations around Bryansk and Kursk, near the Ukrainian border.
Maxar told Reuters baesd on a review of the satellite images, "Based on a review of recent satellite images, the equipment (which includes tanks, armoured personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery and associated support equipment) likely began arriving in the area in late September".
The report was wholly rejected by Russia who said that they maintain a military presence in their territory where it deems necessary. The Ukraine also says that the reports of Russian military movement is fake and that the Ukrainian border service has not detected any increased activity by Russian troops near the Ukrainian borders.