Putin's build-up: Russia amasses troops near Ukraine, provocations in Belarus feared

19:39 Nov. 29, 2016

Russia amasses troops near Ukraine, provocations in Belarus feared

Russian armoured column near Ukrainian border, Rostov region (by Zaxid.net)

Ihor Dolhov says some 55,000 Russian troops are now massing near the border with Ukraine

"Currently, Russia has amassed about 55,000 servicemen near the Ukrainian border. The presence of the Russian regular army on the territory of Ukraine varies from 5,000 to 7,500 soldiers. In Crimea, this figure is 23,000 troops, of which 9,000 are on the administrative border," Deputy Defense Minister Ihor Dolhov said at the fifth Tiger Conference in Kyiv on November 29, UNIAN reports referring to LІGA.net.

According to Dolhov, a total of 1,000 soldiers of the Russian armed forces is stationed in ‘Transnistrian Moldovan Republic', a self-proclaimed Russia-controlled puppet on the southwestern border of Ukraine.

Also Russia is preparing something in Belarus. "The buildup of (the Russian – UT) forces and military infrastructure in Belarus near the Ukrainian border has been reported," the deputy minister said.

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Earlier Chairman of the Standing Delegation of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada in NATO PA Iryna Friz warned that Russian authorities are preparing for a large-scale provocation against Ukraine in Belarus, Interfax-Ukraine reports.

"Russian TV channel ‘Zvezda' (Star – UT), owned by the Russian Ministry of Defense showed a Soviet propaganda-styled news item about the alleged preparations by Ukraine against the Republic of Belarus. The news item says that Ukrainian intelligence agencies plan to send "a hit squad" of Belarusian origin to Minsk to overthrow the current government in this country," MP wrote on Facebook.

This story, according to Friz, is an element of the Russian Federation's preparation to a large-scale provocation against Ukraine on the territory of Belarus. The MP links this provocation with the fivefold increase of railway transportation volume of the Russian Defense Ministry to Belarus in 2017.

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"The purpose of such action may be the elimination of the Lukashenko regime, the introduction of Russian troops, imposition of direct Russian control, as well as stationing Russian Armed Forces on the eastern border of the European Union. The aim is to increase political pressure on Europe," Friz suggested.

According to Friz, militants who took part in hostilities in Donbas, regular units of special operations forces of Russian Federation and Russian agents serving in Belarusian security agencies may be involved in the planned provocations.

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New or restored Russian military bases on Ukrainian and Belarusian borders (Map by Free Beacon)

As reported, in June Alexander Surikov, Russia's Ambassador in Minsk, claimed that building the new Russian military facility in Klintsy, Bryansk region, on the border of Belarus, is necessary to build up defences against 'Ukrainian threat.' Two month later media reported about the near-completion of the construction of a new Russian military base in the country's Rostov region, around 100 kilometers from Ukrainian border. The previous month Ukrainian Intelligence informed that Russian strike aircrafts completed training along Ukrainian border on bombing strategic objects from the territory of Belarus.

Read also Moscow, Kyiv clash over planned Crimea missile tests

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