Destabilizing speculation

Russia announces redeployment of 10,000 troops from Ukrainian border

Despite satellite images from just days ago, which showed more Russian armored vehicles, mobile rocket artillery systems and advanced short-range ballistic missile batteries being moved near the border with Ukraine, Russia has announced that 10,000 troops are redeploying from the border to their bases after “month-long exercises” near Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reported on Saturday, citing the Russian military.

While there have been months of tension in Ukraine over fears that Russia will invade the country again after seizing Crimea in 2014 and the ensuing fighting in the Donbass region with separatists Supported by Russia, the announcement of the departure of 10,000 troops from the region is only a small fraction of the 100,000 troops reportedly along the border.

Russia had deployed thousands of troops to the north, east and south of Ukraine, which led to speculation in Kiev and western capitals that Moscow was planning to invade Ukrainian territory again.

Side-by-side photos comparing an area outside of Ukraine on October 7 and December 13 showing the influx of Russian troops and armored vehicles. Photo by Maxar Technologies

“In the troops of the southern military district, the phase of combat coordination of squads, crews and crews of motorized rifle formations, military combat arms units and special forces has come to an end,” he said. Russian army in a statement.

However, recent satellite images released just before Christmas paint a different picture. Images from Maxar Technologies show a further build-up of Russian armored formations, supporting artillery and enough logistical supplies for Russian troops to carry out a rapid invasion of Ukraine if ordered. This troop withdrawal can therefore simply represent a rotation of certain combat units which will be replaced by others.

A senior Biden administration official, speaking to the media on condition of anonymity, was quoted by Politico as saying that if Russian forces enter Ukraine, the United States and its allies “are prepared to impose severe costs that will hurt the Russian economy and entail exactly What [Russia] says he does not want – more NATO capabilities, not less, closer to Russia, not further. “

If the Russians invaded Ukrainian territory, the United States would “increase its support for Ukraine’s ability to defend its own territory and also to reassure our NATO partners and allies by changing our position of strength in the United States. first line, ”said the American official. “All of this planning is well advanced on our end and we are ready to act if and when it is needed. “

Russia wants a Ukraine that is a buffer for the West, but instead Ukraine has moved more and more to the West. They want to be part of NATO, which President Vladimir Putin has called a red line.

And despite Russia’s annexation of Crimea and their new destabilization efforts in the Donbass region, they continue their rhetoric against the West and in particular against NATO. Earlier last week, Putin warned the West that Russia could take “military-technical response measures and react harshly to hostile measures” if NATO does not end its military training mission in Ukraine and stopped equipping the Ukrainian army.

He continued this line only two days later. “It was the United States that came with its missiles to our place, to the door of our house,” he said Thursday. “And you demand guarantees from me. You must give us guarantees. You! And immediately, immediately, ”added Putin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday led a video call with 20 members of the US Congress, expressing his government’s concern over the build-up of Russian troops around Ukraine and the continued violence in the Donbass where About 13,000 people have died in fighting between Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed separatists, including members of the Wagner group, which Russia denies.

“Now, more than ever, it is not the words that count, but the decisive actions,” Zelensky reportedly said, urging the United States to arbitrate in a peaceful settlement. “My goal is to stop the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine. It is impossible to imagine security in Europe without ending the war in Donbass.

Photo features US and Ukrainian special operations troops training together. DVI Photo

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