Russia war fears: Satellite images show Putin’s troops building up on EU’s doorstep

Russia has ‘no say' if Ukraine joins NATO says Stoltenberg in June

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Photos taken on Monday confirm recent reports that Russia is once again massing troops and military equipment on the border with Ukraine after a major buildup this spring. The new images taken by Maxar Technologies show a buildup of armoured units, tanks and self-propelled artillery along with ground troops massing near the Russian town of Yelnya close to the border of Belarus.

The units, which began moving in late September from other areas of Russia where they are normally based, include the elite 1st Guards Tank Army.

Meanwhile, a new analysis by Jane’s Defence Weekly reveals that equipment from Russia’s 4th Tank Division has been moved to areas around Bryansk and Kursk close to Ukraine’s northern border.

The units are equipped with T-80U main battle tanks and self-propelled artillery.

Russia has expressed grave concerns over the notion that Ukraine is seeking to join NATO.

The Kremlin has reiterated that any expansion of NATO military infrastructure in Ukraine would cross one of President Vladimir Putin’s “red lines”.

Speaking in Kiev, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba sharply rejected the notion of a Russian “red line” outside of its own borders.

He said: “On our side of the Ukrainian-Russian border, we can figure out ourselves what to do in the interests of the Ukrainian people, as well as Ukraine’s and Europe’s security.”

Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Andrei Rudenko said: “Ukraine’s accession to NATO would be an extremely dangerous step.”

The warning comes following Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy asking NATO to speed up their membership application on Twitter.

The United States Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin recently visited Ukraine.

While in Kiev, Mr Austin was asked about Ukraine’s bid to join NATO.

He stopped short of an endorsement, but said Ukraine “has a right to decide its own future foreign policy,” and the US will “continue to do everything we can to support Ukraine’s efforts to develop the capability to defend itself”.

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Speaking of the build-up of assets, the Pentagon also commented on the move.

“We are aware of public reports of unusual Russian military activity near Ukraine but cannot speak to Russian intentions,” said Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Anton Semelroth.

“We continue to support de-escalation in the region and a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine. As we’ve said, our support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering,” he said.

Moscow has consistently reacted to similar moves by NATO forces on the Russian border.

Speaking in August, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: “We are worried over the prospects of growing US military presence in Poland.”

“There are plans for considerably increasing the overall strength of US troops in addition to the already stationed 4,500 men.”

“The infrastructure being created will allow for promptly building up the US military group in that country to 20,000,” she said.

With NATO coming under severe scrutiny under President Donald Trump, many have questioned the alliance’s existence following the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

The geo-political focus has shifted ever further to the East following the collapse of the Iron Curtain.

With tension now mounting in the Indo-Pacific region, Russia claims that NATO still needs to justify their existence by concentrating on Moscow.

“As we have been able to see, NATO is unable to identify the real threats and begins to address them only after a world collapse. Do you know why? The answer is simple: for many years they remained focused on and invested huge resources into persuading their audiences and their citizens to stay obsessed with an ostensible Russian threat,” said Maria Zakharova.

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