An uncharacteristic build-up of Russian military officials at their border with Ukraine has raised concerns with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has called the accumulation of Russian forces “large and unusual”.
Almost 100,000 Russian soldiers have gathered at the Ukraine border, according to Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
“We have seen large and unusual concentrations of Russian forces close to Ukraine’s borders,” said Mr Stoltenberg.
“Any further provocation or aggressive actions by Russia would be of serious concern. We call on Russia to be transparent about its military activities.”
The increasing presence of Russian soldiers at the border has other nations concerned about what it may mean for Ukraine. US officials out of Washington approached allies within the European Union last week to warn that Moscow may be preparing to invade.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also spoken out, saying Britain would support Ukraine “in the face of Russian hostility”.
For some, the amassing military presence harkens back to the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian War in 2014. Much of that war—which is still ongoing—concerns the ownership of the Ukrainian regions of Donbas and Crimea.
One of the most significant outcomes of the invasion was the annexation of Crimea. The Russian Federation invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula.
Annexation refers to forcibly claiming ownership of a region. Officially, Russia rejects that they annexed Crimea, insisting they “returned” the region to its rightful ownership. The annexation is not recognised by the United Nations.
Satellite images also show that various artillery and missiles have been moving toward the border since October. The build-up of troops, in conjunction with an amassed artillery, would allow Russia to potentially launch offensive maneuvers more stealthily and with less warning.
“I hope the whole world can now clearly see who really wants peace and who is concentrating nearly 100,000 soldiers at our border,” said Ukrainian president Zelenskiy.
Russia has thus far denied accusations of planning to invade or launch an offensive attack against Ukraine.
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