Russia buildup raises ‘invasion’ alarm

Crimea

Ukrainian soldiers transport their tanks from their base in Perevalnoe, outside Simferopol, Crimea / AP

Washington Free Beacon (March 27) — U.S. intelligence agencies warned Congress late Wednesday that Russian military forces are massing near Ukraine’s borders and appear ready to launch an invasion with little or no warning.

According to defense and intelligence officials, Russian military forces include more than 30,000 troops massing along Ukraine’s eastern border, with some units within 10 miles of the border.

“We’re certainly watching the buildups very, very closely,” said a senior defense official. “They are reinforcing their forces in the southern and eastern portions of Ukraine.”

According to the officials, buildup is alarming because of the numbers and the level of readiness.

“Based on both the size and the types of forces, they certainly have the capability and the readiness level to move into Ukraine should they choose to do this,” the defense official said.

Adding to the war fears are signs the Russians are positioned to carry out an invasion with little or no warning.

Another intelligence indictor was the Russian military announcement Wednesday that an undisclosed section of airspace was closed for “military exercises.”

However, the officials said concerns about the massed troops were heightened by the lack of signs that the troops, tanks and armored vehicles are not conducting in exercises.

“What we’re seeing is not a lot of exercising, but a lot of reinforcing and setting in place,” the defense official said.

One theory of possible Russian military action is that the troops and tanks in eastern Ukraine are preparing to invade and take control of three major eastern Ukrainian cities of Kharkov, Loans, and Donetsk, and then create a land bridge that would allow easy access to Russia’s recently annexed Crimea, on the Black Sea. Currently, Russia has access to Crimea only by ship.

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