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How Russia increased its military build-up around Ukraine







Other military or air installations

Russia started to move

troops, armor and advances

anti-aircraft systems in

Belarus, a close ally.

About 130,000 Russian soldiers

were deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Forces deployed north of

Ukraine could stretch

the country’s forces are dwindling and

threaten its capital, Kiev.

approximate line

separating Ukrainian and

Russian-backed forces.

Nearly 20,000 troops are nearby

two separatist provinces, where

Ukraine is locked in a

fierce war against the Russians

separatists since 2014.

Other military or air installations

About 130,000 Russian soldiers

were deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Russia started to move

troops, armor and advances

anti-aircraft systems in

Belarus, a close ally.

approximate line

separating Ukrainian and

Russian-backed forces.

Nearly 20,000 troops are nearly two

breakaway provinces, where Ukraine

was locked in a grinding

war with the Russians

separatists since 2014.

About 130,000 Russian soldiers

were deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Russia started to move

troops, armor and advances

anti-aircraft systems in

Belarus, a close ally.

approximate line

separating Ukrainian and

Russian-backed forces.

Nearly 20,000 troops are nearly two

breakaway provinces, where Ukraine

was locked in a grinding

war with the Russians

separatists since 2014.

About 130,000 Russian soldiers

were deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Russia started to move

troops, armor and advances

anti-aircraft systems in

Belarus, a close ally.

Nearly 20,000 troops are nearby

two separatist provinces, where

Ukraine is locked in a

fierce war against the Russians

separatists since 2014.


Source: Rochan Consulting. The New York Times

Note: Figures for newly arrived troops in Belarus, parts of Crimea and western Russia are rough estimates.

A buildup of Russian forces near the border with Ukraine has raised concerns among Western and Ukrainian officials that the Kremlin is preparing for major military action, possibly an invasion. This map, compiled by The New York Times, shows troops, tanks and heavy artillery take positions that threaten to widen the conflict in eastern Ukraine and potentially open a new front on Ukraine’s northern border, closer to the capital, Kyiv. From there, they can also threaten the countries on NATO’s eastern flank.

Russia currently has around 130,000 troops on the Ukrainian border, according to the Ukrainian military. US intelligence agencies estimated that the Kremlin made plans for a military operation involving up to 175,000 soldiers which could begin in the coming weeks. Although it is not clear whether President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has decided launch an attack – and Moscow said several times in recent weeks that it has no intention of doing so – analysts say the country is well on its way to building the architecture necessary for a significant military intervention in Ukraine.

This map represents a snapshot of current Russian positions, as well as general estimates of the number of troops and types of equipment deployed within striking distance of Ukraine. It is based on information obtained by Ukrainian and Western officials as well as independent military analysts and satellite imagery.

According to military officials and analysts, much of the buildup involved troops and equipment that take time to deploy, including tanks and heavy armor, some of which traveled by train from bases as far away as Siberia.

Before launching a major military operation, Russia must deploy reserve soldiers and logistical infrastructure, such as field hospitals, which until recently appeared to be lacking in positions close to Ukraine, analysts said. But those elements along with additional troops have moved into some Russian deployment areas, according to Ukrainian and Western officials.

Much of the focus so far has been on building up forces near two breakaway provinces in eastern Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk, where The Ukrainian army is at war with Russian-backed separatists since 2014. The separatist forces, which include Russian troops and Ukrainian fighters opposed to the Kiev regime, number around 30,000, according to an assessment by the Ukrainian military.

Since the beginning of 2021, Russia has moved five additional battalion tactical groups to the border area near Lugansk and Donetsk, including around 5,000 troops sent to reinforce the approximately 12,000 permanently stationed there, according to Ukrainian authorities. .

Equally important, according to military officials and analysts, are forces massing in northern Ukraine in areas such as Klintsy, where the Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian borders meet. Russia has also started ferrying troops, armor, fighter jets and advanced anti-aircraft systems to Belarus, a Russian ally and Ukraine’s northern neighbor, putting a growing force within reach of Kiev. The Russian Defense Ministry says the reinforcement in Belarus is only for military exercises which are due to start on February 10. But US and NATO officials say the drills could be a pretext to deploy troops to threaten Ukraine and put NATO allies on edge.


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