Russian troop build-up continues on Ukrainian border

by Thomas Bullock & Samuel Cranny-Evans

Russia has continued moving troops towards its western border with Ukraine. Janes has identified the movement of additional units to Crimea, including elements of the elite 76th Air Assault Division, equipped with air-droppable BMD-2 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) and Strela-10 tactical air defence systems, and what is likely the 31st Engineer Regiment, equipped with trench digging and river-crossing equipment. Other units are also continuing their deployments and the 291st Artillery Brigade has deployed 2S7M Malka 220 mm self-propelled mortars.

A 559th Bomber Regiment Su-34 in the Rostov region preparing to deploy to Crimea as part of SMD control check exercises. (Russian MoD)

A 559th Bomber Regiment Su-34 in the Rostov region preparing to deploy to Crimea as part of SMD control check exercises. (Russian MoD)

Satellite imagery is also beginning to show the scale of some units’ deployments. The 136th Motorised Brigade was one of the first units moved to Crimea, and its BMP-3 IFVs were first spotted in Crimea on 30 March. Satellite imagery of the brigade’s base in Dagestan shows a significant reduction in vehicles, indicating a large-scale deployment.

The Central Military District build-up also continues in Voronezh. Satellite imagery of the main camp south of Voronezh city shows around 70 main battle tanks (MBTs), 100 IFVs, 70 artillery pieces, including long-range multiple rocket launchers (MRLs), and accommodation for an estimated 3,000 troops as of 9 April. Video footage also shows additional equipment belonging to units already deployed to Voronezh being transported by rail.

The Black Sea Fleet has also been reinforced by 10 small vessels, including Serna-class landing craft and Shmel-class patrol boats, from the Caspian Flotilla. The Black Sea Fleet could also increase its amphibious capacity with the addition of the four large landing craft from the Northern and Baltic Fleets currently active in the Mediterranean Sea.

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Russia has continued moving troops towards its western border with Ukraine. Janes has identified the...

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