Khomchak: Russia building up forces near Ukraine's border
Russia is increasing forces near the state border of Ukraine in the north, east and south, Colonel-General, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak said.
"As of March 30, 2021, some 28 battalion tactical groups of the enemy are held along the state border of Ukraine in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, namely in Briansk, Voronezh, Rostov and on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea. But recently from different regions. Russia, under the guise of control exercises for the winter period of combat readiness exercises and general preparation for the future joint strategic exercises Zapad-2021 (West 2021), the Russian armed forces are gradually increasing troops near the state border of Ukraine in the north, east and south," Khomchak said, speaking at an extraordinary meeting of the Verkhovna Rada on Tuesday.
According to him, we are talking about Briansk, Voronezh regions and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.
In general, an additional concentration of up to 25 battalion tactical groups is expected, which, together with the existing deployed forces and assets near the state border of Ukraine, creates threats to the military security of the state," Khomchak said.
He said that since 2014, during the occupation of the Crimean peninsula, Russia has been increasing the joint-force formation of troops of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, which currently amounts to about 32,700 servicemen.
In particular, the commander-in-chief said, in the middle of March 2021, at the Opuk training ground, combat training activities were worked out on the landing of air and sea landing by two battalion tactical groups with the support of an artillery tactical group from the seventh Airborne Assault Division.
"After the end of the exercises, these units were left in the area of the training ground. In addition, there was an increase in grouping due to the movement of five more battalion tactical groups," Khomchak said.
He said that in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, a grouping of Russian-occupation forces of the enemy, the first and second army corps, consisting of 14 combat brigades, regiments and support units numbering about 28,000 people, which operate with the support of Russian regular troops in command positions of which are regular officers of the armed forces of Russia. In addition, Khomchak said, to train specialists for intelligence special units in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk regions, there is an apparatus of military advisers and instructors of the Russian armed forces with a total number of more than 2,000 people.
"Up to 12 battalion tactical groups are additionally held on the territory of Rostov region with a readiness period of one or two days, which provides the minimum necessary set of measures for an immediate response to possible military actions on the part of Ukraine," he said.
In addition, Khomchak said that since the beginning of 2021, about 19,000 tonnes of fuel, some 335 tonnes of ammunition, 35 vehicles, three tanks, multiple launch rocket systems and special equipment have been moved to the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.