Russia is shipping massive amounts of military equipment to their already massive buildup on the Ukraine border. The equipment is being unloaded in Novozybkov-Klimov, 50 kilometers north of Ukraine. The location of the Russia forces puts them within an hour of Chernihiv, Ukraine.
Tanks have been reported by multiple sources, and videos and photographs have been tweeted and reported of the military equipment, captured streaming along the roads and loaded in long lines on railway freight cars toward Novozyvkob, where they have been unloaded.
On March 24, Russia’s 12th Tank regiment, part of an elite division moved to the same location. Also nearby is Russia’s 2nd Taman Motorized Rifle Division, composed of 400 troops, a company of 10 tanks, and the communications center, which have been deployed to the Amon Kalynivka Khomutovskaya Kursk region. On military training ground near Belgorod, there are three battalions of the 76th Pskov Airborne Assault Division and two battalions of the 106th Tula Airborne Division. In total, there are about 1,100 officers and 120 vehicles. There are also 25 mi-24 attack helicopters, reportedly.
Russian military movements are taking place as Ukraine is scrambling to ready its own military out of fear of Russian invasion. The Ukrainian government recently passed legislation to fund the Ukrainian military with $600 million for the next three months, and called up 40,000 Ukrainian army reserves for active service. Training began near Kiev over a week ago with 500 troops. Wednesday, Ukraine’s defense department also compiled a list of things every Ukrainian must have ready in a backpack should Ukraine go to war, reportedly.
Moscow has stated that “Russia does not want war,” but has acted in Crimea without heeding the complaints of almost all of the nation’s trading partners, who have condemned Russia for their illegal annexation of the peninsula. Russia has also made statements comparing the plight of Crimeans, on whose invitation the Russians entered Ukrainian territory, to the plight of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and the Baltic states, all formerly parts of the Soviet Union and nations that are expressing fear of becoming the next Crimea. Russian officials have claimed that Russian ethnicities are mistreated in these areas, and have made overtures to interfere in this regard in ways such as offering Russian citizenship and pensions to Latvia, who, Russian officials claim, are suffering from economic disparity.
NATO commanders have made repeated, public warnings about the threat of further Russian aggression. NATO is currently holding joint military exercises with America and 11 other nations in Bulgaria. U.S. officials have expressed concern about further Russian invasions as well. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is currently visiting several Eastern European nations, in part to reassure those nations of America’s support under NATO’s Article 5, which requires all NATO members to come to the aid of a NATO member who is threatened. The Baltic states are NATO members. Moldova, another region with a large pro-Russian minority that has called out for Russian help, is not a NATO member, although it aspires to be. Ukraine is not a NATO member and does not aspire to be.
Russia’s military action against Ukraine has been unusual in that Russia has invaded parts of Ukraine without creating any battles. The Russian army most recently seized the majority of Ukraine’s navy, increasing the Russian navy’s fleet of warships from 280 t0 330, which places the size of Russian naval fleet above America’s, which has 289. At least quantitatively, Russia now has effectively the largest navy on earth.
By Day Blakely Donaldson