US detects Russia moving additional forces closer to Ukraine border
Moscow is continuing to deploy more troops in close proximity to Ukraine’s borders, U.S. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during a briefing on Feb. 9.
“And as for troop numbers buildup… we have continued to see, even over the last 24 hours, additional capabilities flow from elsewhere in Russia to their border with Ukraine and in Belarus,” Kirby said.
According to him, the U.S. Department of Defense continues to see growth in the number of Russian troops around Ukraine and Belarus, with additional battalion tactical groups “on their way.”
“Every day he (Russian President Vladimir Putin) adds to his (military) options, every day he adds to his capabilities, every day he continues to destabilize what is already a very tense situation,” said the press secretary.
A Russian troop buildup that began in late autumn on the Ukrainian border was first widely reported in early December 2021, with several media outlets speculating that Russia might invade Ukraine with a force of 175,000 troops in early 2022.
On Feb. 5, Reuters reported that U.S. officials estimate Russian forces are at 70% of the level needed for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Currently, there are approximately 140,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine, from Russia, Belarus, and the temporarily occupied territories.
According to U.S. government sources, the number of Russian battalion tactical groups surrounding Ukraine has increased from 60 to 84 over the last two weeks, with further 14 in transit.
The United States sees indications that Russia is preparing for a major offensive against Ukraine by mid-February, according to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.
The Kremlin denies gearing up for invasion, and has instead accused Ukraine of planning false flag operations, as well as of drawing up plans to use force to restore Kyiv’s control over territories lost since 2014.
However, the Kremlin has declined to provide a guarantee of non-invasion, and has supplied no evidence of this alleged planned Ukrainian offensive.
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