Independent investigators say that Russia is moving more weapons to Ukraine’s borders
Russia is moving a significant amount of weapons from across the whole of the Russian Eastern Military District to Ukraine’s borders, the Conflict Intelligence Team, an independent Russian investigative network, reported on Jan. 12.
CIT’s published report is based on eyewitness accounts and videos that was posted on social media last week.
The videos, in particular, show military vehicles loaded on trains moving west from the Russian Far East.
“Trucks, tank IFVs and MLRs can be seen on flatbed rail cars,” posted CIT. “Eyewitnesses report several trains per week or even per day.”
The investigators also claim that Russian security services were taking steps to hide the records of these trains from open databases. However, indirect data still point to departures from every base in the Eastern Military District, which encompasses a significant portion of Russia’s east Asian territory.
Some of the trains have already been spotted further west, indicating an unusual redeployment, say the investigators.
The CIT report also mentioned that the trains from the city of Ulan-Ude in Buryatia in eastern Siberia, were particularly notable. Ulan-Ude is the base of 5th Separate Tank Brigade, which operated in Ukraine during the winter of 2015.
CIT investigators believe that, given that Russian paratroopers were soon to leave Kazakhstan following the conclusion of a so-called “peacekeeping” deployment in that country, the trains’ most likely destination is Ukraine. Their cargo would likely join the Russian military units already deployed on the Russian-Ukrainian borders.
Video footage shows military personnel also moving alongside the vehicles.
Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced the start of a new set of military drills on the Russian-Ukrainian borders on Jan. 11, describing them as “live-fire” and involving the use of armor.
The maneuvers involved 3,000 military personnel and 300 pieces of military hardware, and are being conducted on military ranges in border regions near Belarus and Ukraine, according to a report by Russian news agency Interfax.
The Russian announcement came just a day after U.S.-Russia talks on “security guarantees” in Geneva were held to de-escalate tensions caused by the build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border and in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories.
The U.S. has demanded that Russia explain why it has started a new set of military drills on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
Currently, over 100,000 Russian troops are estimated to be deployed on the Russian-Ukrainian border and in occupied territories, according to Ukrainian intelligence.
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