Russian troop levels on Ukraine’s border have risen to 130,000, warns Ukrainian defense minister
Russia has already amassed about 130,000 servicemen close to the Russian-Ukrainian border, Oleksii Reznikov, Ukraine’s defense minister, told the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, on Jan. 28.
However, no military actions have been observed that would differ from a similar situation last spring, he said.
“The only difference in military terms, which we are closely monitoring, is the situation in Belarus,” the minister noted. “What is fundamentally different is the intensity of hybrid events, primarily informational, as well as the impact of these events on the macroeconomic situation.”
The defense minister said the number of Russian military personnel includes both maritime and aviation components.
“Now, we are monitoring military units, who number about 112,000 people,” he said.
“In April last year, the combat component amassed by Russia amounted to 126,000 people…So, the quantity is commensurable then and now. However, the reaction is incomparable.”
Reznikov also spoke about discrepancies in Russian troop counts in various media outlets, saying that some are counting the presence of Russian troops up to 200 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, while others are using a more expansive area of 400 kilometers.
“We use data for a zone up to 200 kilometers, which mirrors the trend more accurately,” the minister explained.
Reznikov emphasized that Ukrainian intelligence, himself personally, and the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were constantly in contact with international partners, adding that Ukraine continues to provide them with up-to-date information.
International media have speculated that Russia may invade Ukraine in early 2022, in an operation that could involve up to 175,000 Russian soldiers.
The Kremlin says the troop movements are Russia’s own internal affair.
At the same time, Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of planning “provocations,” and alleged that Kyiv plans to regain control of the occupied Ukrainian territories by military means.
The Kremlin has failed to back up any of its allegations with evidence, however.
Russian troops have also been deployed to Belarus, as part of previously unscheduled military exercises. However, Russian equipment has been spotted along the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, far from the announced zone of the exercises.
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