For the past two weeks He returned to the increase Tension on the border between Russia and Ukraine, two countries have been at war since 2014 in the aftermath of the invasion and subsequent occupation of eastern Ukraine by pro-Russian militias. Independent observers in Russia and Western countries have noted that the Russian army has been massing troops and military vehicles since the days of not far from the Ukrainian border, so much so that there is open talk about the possibility of a new invasion.
The Russian government has not denied the hypothesis: on Friday, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin Blame Ukraine To exacerbate tensions and to know that Russia will not “stand idly by” in the event of a “humanitarian catastrophe”. Dmitry Kozak, one of Putin’s main collaborators, said Thursday explicitly that Russia would intervene militarily to defend Ukrainians of Russian descent in the event of an attack by the Ukrainian army.
In recent years, hostilities have occurred between Russia and Ukraine They didn’t really stop, Even if there are long periods of less intensity. It has already happened that the Russian troop increase on the Ukrainian border has caused fears of a new invasion, but the volume of moves in recent days gives more substance to the concerns of observers. “Russia currently has more forces on the Ukrainian border than any period after 2014,” He said Two days ago, White House spokeswoman Jane Psaki. It is estimated That at the time of the invasion of Eastern Ukraine there were more than 25,000 soldiers belonging to the pro-Russian militia or Special Army Corps on the border.
The United States is not alone in noticing unusual movements near the Ukrainian border. A group of independent Russian bloggers calling themselves the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) he wrote On the Russian news site The Insider To analyze videos and photos on social networks and to identify the movements of tanks, heavy artillery and anti-aircraft vehicles. “We have not witnessed such a proliferation since the most dangerous stage of the war between 2014 and 2015,” she added. Another report was released by the independent Gens Observatory on April 8 Speaking More specifically, 14 Russian ground units have arrived at the Ukrainian border in recent days.
Especially many forces appear to be gathering in Voronezh, a Russian city located about 300 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, very far from the capital, Kiev, and territory controlled by pro-Russian militias, such as Donetsk. Regions. And Luhansk.
Many experts believe that a new invasion is not imminent, but they do not exclude it from the options available to the Russian government. “I still think that it is a show of force and a means of sending messages, but it is clear that no one excludes the possibility that the matter will turn into something more serious.” He said a Foreign Policy Andrea Kendall Taylor, a senior Russian analyst and former US intelligence officer.
Michael Kaufman, analyst at the American security consulting firm CNA, He said The The New York Times He says Russia is practicing a form of “coercive diplomacy” and trying to achieve a strategic goal by projecting power (although it is not clear at the moment what the target is in question, Kaufman adds).
For both Russia and Ukraine, the last few months have been very tense from the point of view of the internal debate. Putin’s popularity Visibly decreased After the mass protests caused by the arrest of dissident Alexei Navalny and criticism of dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.
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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also come under fire for his handling of the epidemic – Ukraine in recent days. Arrive Most casualties ever – while Zelensky intensified his criticism of Russia, shutting down some pro-Russian TV channels and reiterating his determination to request joining NATO.