Mick Murran, head of the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service, said Russia was continuing to move its forces towards the Ukrainian border. He added that Russia was likely to launch a limited military offensive against the country. According to him, about 10 war groups of Russian troops are approaching the border with Ukraine, where 100 war groups or about 170,000 soldiers are already stationed.
According to him, the attack includes a missile attack and the occupation of a “key area” in Ukraine. – At this time, we estimate that they will not attack the most populous cities, because many soldiers are needed to control these areas. But it is unclear which route Russian troops will take, Marron said at a news conference Wednesday.
According to Estonian intelligence, another possibility is the intensification of fighting with government forces on the border of the two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine with Russian support. – Such an increase is quite possible. In this way, Russia can gain a credible opportunity to avoid denial (aggression) and sanctions, Murron said.
– If Russia wins in Ukraine, it will encourage increased pressure on the Baltic countries in the coming years. (Russian President Vladimir Putin) The threat of war has become Putin’s main political tool, he said.
Estonian intelligence chief: About 10 war groups are approaching the Ukrainian border
According to the head of Estonian intelligence, about 10 war groups of Russian troops are approaching the border with Ukraine, where 100 war groups or about 170,000 soldiers are already stationed. This number includes soldiers who are usually stationed in areas around Ukraine, but also troops in Belarus and soldiers sent by Russia for military training near the border with Ukraine.
Marron noted that some of the Russian soldiers will stay in Belarus after training on February 20. – This will reduce the preparation time for the attack on the Baltic states – he stressed.
Stoltenberg: Russia still maintains forces ready for a major offensive around Ukraine
On Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that soldiers from the southern military district would end their participation in “tactical exercises” on the Crimean peninsula and return “by train to permanent evacuation sites”. Military surveillance vehicles, including tanks and self-propelled howitzers, were loaded for transport. The Ministry of Defense announced that “military excellence will provide combat equipment and soldiers to the permanent deployment points of military units.”
On Tuesday, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said that Russian troops had begun to be loaded and returned to the garrison after the completion of the exercises. It is about the forces of the Southern and Western Military Districts.
– We do not see There are no signs of a decrease in intensity from Russia“We do not see the withdrawal of Russian troops and equipment from Ukraine’s,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels on Wednesday.
“From Crimea to Belarus, we can see that Russia is preparing on a larger scale to attack the forces surrounding Ukraine,” he stressed. He explained that NATO has satellite images to prove this. He also pointed out that this was the largest concentration of armed forces in Europe since the Cold War.
Tensions around Ukraine
Western nations are concerned about the concentration of Russian troops on the border Ukraine And warn Moscow of the consequences of a possible aggression against this country. Russia says it has no such plans, while the United States and NATO demand a “guarantee” not to extend the alliance to Ukraine and to withdraw its infrastructure “from its borders.”
It has been taking place since February 10th Russian-Belarusian exercisesA large part is carried out in Belarus, and on February 13, maneuvers Black Sea. All of these activities are expected to be completed by February 20th. Moscow argued that players participating in training in Belarus would return to divisions in Russia from there.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / Russian Ministry of Defense Press Service
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