Old military base near Belarus suddenly gets a facelift
Russia is stepping up its military presence near Ukrainian borders. There are two new tank divisions not far from Kharkiv, and by the year-end Russian military pledges to deploy there more.
Moscow already has its airbase in Belarus, where airborne brigades and fighter jets are stationed. Currently, an old base is being reopened in the town of Klyntsi, in the Bryansk region of Russia. Klyntsi is only 50 km away from Ukraine and some 40 km from the border of Belarus.
Russian military officers confess, according to Ukrainian TSN news outlet, that the self-propelled guns, tanks, and Grad multiple rocket launchers are intended to remind Belarusians about their mighty neighbour.
"Lukashenko began to look at the West, so Putin decided to put some strain on him, while he is balancing between two stools. We don't war want, but he [Belarusian President] was not recommended to let NATO any closer. It is only 40 kilometers from here to Belarus' border. And do you know what firing range of Grad is?" That were the words by a Russian officer of 28th separate motorized rifle brigade deployed to Klyntsi.
The base was officially closed back in 2011, but recently local authorities welcomed the first batch of about three hundred soldiers who arrived at the town.
Klyntsi is only 5 hours' drive both from Kyiv and Minsk, so observers say Moscow aims to show off its military muscles to the two capitals.
Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov recently warned that it is Ukraine which needs to be worried.
"What does Belarus have to do with this? As far as I understand, the Minsk agreements are failing, and radicalism in Ukraine once again starts to rise. Preventive measures." Surikov stated.
Ukrainian military intelligence says that by the end of the year thousands of new Russian troops will appear near the country's frontiers, with many of them having battle experience, including in Ukraine. One of the soldiers said he came to Klyntsi in the same uniform he wore in Donbas last summer.
Russia's defence ministry does not officially confirm deployment of troops in Bryansk region, soldiers stationed there say they are guarding "special military object".