With the help of video recordings of local residents, the investigators found a field camp near Voronezh. People walked in the woods and went out to the field, where a large number of heavy equipment, including tanks, were deployed. According to Leviev, this is a new camp, which is still being formed, but it is already quite large – local residents say that this field is 3-4 km long, completely filled with equipment. Also in the video there is a tent camp, a field hospital (tents with a medical service sign) and a kitchen.
The journalist notes that the camp is located 170 km on the road from the border of Ukraine, that is, the equipment can make a march in a day.
“There are all the signs that this is one of the places where the troops will be drawn. There will obviously be more than one such places. After all, all the equipment that is moving now cannot be placed in one place,” he stressed.
According to the investigator, Russia is pulling many types of weapons to the border, and this list is “more offensive than defensive”: it contains multiple launch rocket systems “Hurricane”, “Grad”, there is a video from an eyewitness with a convoy armored vehicles “Tiger” and airborne “Kamaz” those modifications that are usually used by special forces and intelligence.
CIT claims that the current movements of the Russian military near the Ukrainian border are the most massive since the fighting for Debaltseve in winter 2015. Such a scale of the transfer of troops, investigators are sure, can not be explained by teachingsbecause the local exercises planned in the Southern Military District (to which the Russian Federation includes the annexed Crimea) have already ended, and after it there was no withdrawal of troops; and the next strategic exercises of the Russian Federation – “West 2021” – were announced for September.
But they admit that they appreciate the scale from the video movement of columns and trains the eyewitnesses they work with are difficult; this is clearly only a small part of the process.
“Now we have found one field camp and are looking at satellite images of how it is being formed. When it is formed, using satellite images it will be much easier for us to give a preliminary estimate of how many forces have been pulled to the border with Ukraine, “Leviev explained.
As before, the Conflict Intelligence Team continues to believe that the build-up of Russian troops near the border is “muscle flexing, saber-rattling and an attempt to put pressure on both Ukraine itself and its supporters, NATO and the United States.”
“When we assess the possible plans of the Russian authorities and military officials, we always proceed from the fact that war is a continuation of politics and there are always reasons for starting a military operation. So far we do not see any reason to start a military operation from either side. the active phase in Donbass was regularly frightened by the fact that Russia was planning to break through a corridor to Crimea. But we see that this did not happen, “Leviev said.
He also referred to the words of the famous Western analyst Michael Kofman, who on Twitter on April 5 also appreciated actions of the RF as an attempt at pressure. Kofman still believes that the escalation in Donbass will not go beyond the “artillery duels” and will not go over to the invasion.
“But the level of confidence is important, and I’m less sure that this is just a show of strength than I was before,” the expert wrote.
Does this mean invasion imminent? No. I’m largely where I was last week in that initial analysis. But confidence levels are important. I’m less confident that this is just a coercive demonstration than I was before.
— Michael Kofman (@KofmanMichael) April 5, 2021
- According to CIT, Russia April 4 airlifted military personnel 76th Guards Airborne Assault Division, whose fighters are known as “Pskov paratroopers”, from the Pskov region to occupied Simferopol. In 2014, this division participated in the capture of Crimea and the war in eastern Ukraine.
- CIT Investigators confirmed the transfer of other units to the Ukrainian borders. In particular, the 74th Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade from the Kemerovo Region to Voronezh (near Kharkov).
- On March 30, 2021, at an extraordinary meeting of the Verkhovna Rada, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak said that Russia builds up military presence near the border with Ukraine in the south, east and north: in the Bryansk, Voronezh regions, as well as in the occupied Crimea. “An additional concentration of up to 25 battalion tactical groups is expected, which, together with the existing deployed forces and assets near the state border of Ukraine, pose a threat to the military security of the state,” he said.
- The accumulation of troops on the border with Ukraine is taking place against the background of the aggravation of the situation in Donbass. On April 1, the President’s Office reported that since the beginning of 2021, the Russian occupation troops in the Donbas violated the ceasefire more than 570 times… On the same day, Ukrainian intelligence said that Russia is ready to escalate the situation in Donbass.
- The Ukrainian delegation to the trilateral contact group reported on the afternoon of April 6 that in the last week alone (from March 30), three Ukrainian soldiers were killed in the Donbas, four were injured and injured. After that, it became known about more two Ukrainian militarykilled on April 6.
- Due to the escalation of the situation in Donbass, the US command in Europe announced maximum availability… Former commander of the American army in Europe Ben Hodges suggested that pulling in troops can be a “posturing of Russia” and a “test” of the administration the new president of the United States, Joe Biden.