Russia Still Building Up Forces Near Ukraine, Show Satellite Images

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Images released Thursday evening showed a base in Crimea.

New satellite images captured by a private U.S. company show that Russia has continued to strengthen its forces in annexed Crimea and near Ukraine in recent weeks, while urging the United States to discuss the security guarantees it seeks .

Reuters was unable to independently verify the latest images of US company Maxar Technologies. The Kremlin on Friday recalled that it reserves the right to move its own forces into Russian territory as it sees fit and that Western countries are carrying out provocative military maneuvers near its borders.

Leaders in the United States, Europe and Ukraine have accused Russia of reconstituting troops near the Ukrainian border since October after a brief build-up earlier in April, when Maxar also released the footage. US President Joe Biden and other leaders have said Moscow appears to be considering an attack on Ukraine as early as next month, which Moscow has repeatedly denied.

Images released Thursday evening showed a base in Crimea, which Russia annexed to Ukraine in 2014, filled with hundreds of armored vehicles and tanks as of December 13. A Maxar satellite image of the same base in October showed the base to be half empty. .

Maxar said a new brigade-level unit, consisting of several hundred armored vehicles comprising BMP series infantry fighting vehicles, tanks, self-propelled artillery and air defense equipment, was arrival at the Russian garrison.

“Over the past month, our high-resolution satellite images have observed a number of new Russian deployments in Crimea as well as in several training areas in western Russia along the outskirts of the Ukrainian border,” Maxar said in a statement.

He cited increased activity at three sites in Crimea and five sites in western Russia.

President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia wanted to avoid conflict, but needed an “immediate” response from the United States and its allies to their demands for security guarantees. Moscow has said it expects talks with US officials on the matter to begin in January in Geneva.

Asked Friday about strengthening Russian troops near Ukraine, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow was acting to defend its own security.

Russia is moving its own troops on its own territory against the background of very hostile actions by our opponents from NATO, the United States and various European countries which are conducting very clear maneuvers near our borders,” said Peskov.

“This requires us to take certain measures to ensure our own safety.”

Biden threatened to take strong economic and other measures if Russia invaded Ukraine, building on sanctions imposed following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and supporting an ongoing separatist rebellion. pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. A US official said the new retaliatory measures could include strict export controls.

Russia says it wants NATO to stop its eastward expansion and seeks assurances that the Western military alliance will not deploy certain offensive weapons in Ukraine and other neighboring countries.

Further footage from Maxar showed a build-up at the Soloti assembly ground in Russia near the Ukrainian border, with photos taken in early December showing a greater concentration of military materiel than in September.

Other images showed continuous accumulations in Yelnya, a Russian town about 160 miles (260 km) north of the Ukrainian border, and at the Pogonovo training ground near the town of Voronezh in southern Russia.

(Except for the title, this story was not edited by DAILYNEWSCATCH staff and is posted from a syndicated feed.)

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