Open-source intelligence team reports Russian troop deployments in Belarus, 200 km from Kyiv

20 January 2022, 03:50 PM

Russia has deployed army encampments and military hardware in Belarus – supposedly for military drills – just 200 km north of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, according to a Jan. 19 post on the Telegram channel of independent Russian open-source intelligence group, Conflict Intelligence Team, or CIT.

CIT emphasized that there are no training grounds declared nearby as part of the Union Resolve 2022 Russia-Belarus joint drills scheduled for Feb. 10 to Feb. 20.

On Jan. 18, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) reported that Russian-made BM-27 220mm multiple rocket launchers, or Uragan (Hurricane), were unloaded at the Rechitsa train station in Gomel region, Belarus. Footage of the event also revealed that several transporter-loaders for the BM-27 rocket launchers had been delivered to the site.

Video of day

CIT said that a Twitter user had geolocated the footage as the M-10 highway near the Ivanovka train stop. It is about 40 km to the border with Ukraine’s Chernihiv region, and about 90 km to Kyiv.

The open-source investigators added that the deployment of Russian military equipment in this area causes particular concern since, according to CNN sources, Russia may try to take Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, and overthrow the government.

The fact is that all the main government buildings in Kyiv are located on the western bank of the Dnipro River, and a possible offensive from the north makes it possible to avoid this water barrier (unlike the offensive from the Russian-Ukrainian border), CIT wrote.

Russia has been massing troops at the Russian-Ukrainian border since late October. The buildup follows a similar massing of troops in the spring of 2021, though on a much larger scale.

As of early December, about 100,000 Russian soldiers were deployed near the Russian-Ukrainian border and in the temporarily occupied territories in the Donbas, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said in Ukraine’s parliament on Dec. 3.

International media have speculated that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022, in an operation that could involve up to 175,000 Russian soldiers.

Both U.S. and European officials have expressed concern over the situation.

U.S. President Joe Biden in December declared that the White House was working out “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do.”

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