KYIV, (BM) – EU High Representative for Security and Foreign Affairs Joseph Borel said (April, 19 – ed.) that Russia had amassed more than 150,000 troops along the Ukrainian border and on the annexed Crimean peninsula, BulgarianMilitary.com, citing AFP.
According to Borel, such action by Moscow is the largest deployment of Russian military force around the Ukrainian border so far, especially in recent years, when the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has intensified. However, Borel refused to reveal the source of this number to journalists.
He said no new economic sanctions or expulsions of Russian diplomats were planned so far. However, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on the EU to impose new sanctions on Russia.
Tensions between Moscow and Kyiv are rising amid military build-up and clashes in eastern Ukraine between the army and pro-Russian separatists.
Russia is moving ships to the Black Sea too
On April 8, the southern military region of the Russian armed forces announced that, from the Makhachkala naval base, the Caspian fleet would transfer ten boats to the Black Sea fleet, however already well endowed.
Also, in detail, it is a question of transferring landing craft as well as gunboats. The type of boats to be shared has not been specified. But it is assumed that they will take the Volga-Don Canal, which connects the Caspian Sea to that of Azov [and therefore the Black Sea], their dimensions will have to be reduced.
The Caspian fleet has seven landing craft, including six of the “Serna” class, each weighing around one hundred tonnes at full load and one of the “Shark” type. The same fleet has well as five gunboats, including four of the “Schmel” type, displaying a displacement of 70 tons and equipped with a 76 mm gun, three machine guns, a BM-14 rocket launcher, and the ability to lay mines. It also has a “Zhuk” class patrol boat classified as “artillery boats,” armed with two 12.7mm machine guns.
The Black Sea fleet is equipped with five landing craft [including two of the Serma class, two of the Shark class, and one of the BK-16 type, used by the special forces]. But it also has seven “large landing ships” of the old design.
What is happening?
On April 1, Russia began locating a lot of Russian weapons on the border with Ukraine. The Belarusian side noticed similar actions. A Ukrainian journalist was the first to film the movement of military convoys.
The revelation forced the Kremlin to explain after the public learned about what was happening. “The Russian Federation is moving troops within its territory at its discretion; this should not bother anyone; it does not pose a threat to anyone,” said presidency spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
According to him, the Russian Federation is taking the necessary measures to ensure its borders ’security. “You know that along the perimeter of the borders of the Russian Federation; there is increased activity of the armed forces of NATO countries, other associations, individual governments, etc., etc. All this obliges you to be vigilant,” Peskov stressed.
“As for the participation of Russian troops in the armed conflict on the territory of Ukraine, Russian troops have never participated in it and do not participate in it. This is a highly internal Ukrainian conflict, and we, European countries, other countries would not want armed forces of Ukraine, the civil war in Ukraine flared up again,“ said Peskov.
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