Russia deploys 32,500 troops in Crimea, restoring nuclear infrastructure, no demarches against
NATO members expected – SVR
Russia has marked out a large grouping of troops on the occupied Crimea peninsula and is creating conditions for the deployment of nuclear weapons there, which will be used to increase pressure on the international community, according to the 2021 White Book newsletter of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), released on its website.
"Russia has created a powerful inter-service grouping of troops in Crimea, which covers ground, air and naval components and numbers about 32,500 people. The Russian side creates conditions for the deployment of nuclear weapons, their individual components and carriers in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea, carries out work to restore nuclear infrastructure, which poses a threat to Ukraine's national security [...] Military aircraft and missile ships are deployed in the temporarily occupied territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol, which can carry charges with a nuclear warhead," according to the Assessment of external threats to Ukraine's national security section.
The plans of Russia for the development and use of tactical nuclear weapons, including from the territory of the occupied Crimea, "allow the Kremlin to increase the degree of pressure on the international community," which threatens the security and national interests of Ukraine and its strategic partners.
At the same time, the service calls the implementation of the scenario of systemic destabilization of the internal situation in Ukraine as a key threat from Russia, in particular, by easing international support for Ukraine, creating a threatening military background, economic, including energy pressure. "At the strategic level, the goals of the Russian Federation in relation to Ukraine will remain unchanged and envisage [...] the prevention of the European and Euro-Atlantic advancement of our state," the service said in the document.
The Foreign Intelligence Service also expects that the EU's policy in the coming years will tend to "strategic autonomy," that is minimal dependence on other players, and Ukraine's main European allies will focus their efforts on solving internal problems. At the same time, the adjacent European states will adhere to a relatively friendly policy towards Ukraine and support its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
"The main source of threats to European security and the national security of Ukraine is and will remain in the coming years the course chosen by the Russian leadership to consolidate Russia's status as a global player and recognize the so-called' Russian interests.' It is very likely that the Kremlin will continue its tactics of 'increasing the stakes' in the military-political confrontation, manipulating the problems of European security, as well as fueling the processes of disintegration of Europe. At the same time, serious military demarches against the new NATO members are not expected from the Russian Federation, but incidents in the air, sea and cyberspace will continue to take place, which will keep the threat of escalation of the Russia-NATO conflict as a result of unintentional clashes," the service said.