The Ukrainian Donbass War Thread

Feanor

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German Media is reporting about "unusual" concentraions and movements of russian military close to the ukrainien border.

There is some of the usual fearmongering about an russian Invasion by the Media but actual insights and informations are hard to find as it is not the biggest topic in the News (Covid and the election outcome Take the limelight spots).

Could you provide some background in the current deployment @Feanor ? Thank you in advance.
I don't see the usual evidence of it, namely buckets of videos of Russian troops moving around near the border. In previous build-ups it was easily traceable through OSINT. It could be that the current buildup is a fiction. It also could be, though I think less likely, that Russia has managed to achieve a significant concentration without the usual public attention. Given that North Stream 2 certification is on the table, and that the Russian military isn't great at opsec, I'm leaning towards this being mostly fictional.
 

Vivendi

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German Media is reporting about "unusual" concentraions and movements of russian military close to the ukrainien border.

There is some of the usual fearmongering about an russian Invasion by the Media but actual insights and informations are hard to find as it is not the biggest topic in the News (Covid and the election outcome Take the limelight spots).

Could you provide some background in the current deployment @Feanor ? Thank you in advance.
Not only German media is reporting this. Several other sources, including NATO, report the same: Russia-Ukraine border: Nato warning over military build-up - BBC News
Jens Stoltenberg said a "large and unusual" build-up of Russian forces had been spotted on the border in recent weeks.

European Council on Foreign Relation: Russia’s military movements: What they could mean for Ukraine, Europe, and NATO – European Council on Foreign Relations (ecfr.eu)
Importantly, another set of military build-ups accelerated at the beginning of November. These are clearly targeting Ukraine specifically. The number of military assets in Crimea has increased; parts of the 1st Guards Tank Army have been deployed to Maslovka close to the border with the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv in the country’s north-east; and a further concentration of military vehicles appears to have assembled around Rostov (just east of Ukraine). This last move is presumably to enable Russia to infiltrate Ukraine’s Donbas region, an intention strongly suggested by the high numbers of military transports arriving at the airport in Rostov-on-Don.

Alongside these build-ups, Russia has mobilised its paramilitary security forces, the National Guards Units, and also sent them to Rostov. Following an invasion of Ukraine, it would use these to control conquered territory, suppress dissent, and install puppet administrations. Their mobilisation is a sign that the Kremlin is at least considering the option of further incursions into Ukraine. Compared to the situation in March and April 2021, when it last moved troops close to the Ukrainian border, Russia seems to be making much less effort to ensure the current assembly is visible. This may hint towards a significantly more serious intention than simply a wish to appear threatening.
 

Vivendi

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To my (non-expert) eyes, this looks like a pretty good analysis:

bne IntelliNews - LONG READ: Russia looks poised to invade Ukraine, but what would an invasion actually look like?

What do people think? Are we moving closer to "Ossetia 2" scenario?
Perhaps the most likely is that by amassing significant number of troops close to the Ukrainian border, Russia has a number of options they are considering, depending on how things develop in the near future. Hopefully NATO and the EU will play their cards well.

Winter is coming.
 

Feanor

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To my (non-expert) eyes, this looks like a pretty good analysis:

bne IntelliNews - LONG READ: Russia looks poised to invade Ukraine, but what would an invasion actually look like?

What do people think? Are we moving closer to "Ossetia 2" scenario?
Perhaps the most likely is that by amassing significant number of troops close to the Ukrainian border, Russia has a number of options they are considering, depending on how things develop in the near future. Hopefully NATO and the EU will play their cards well.

Winter is coming.
I suspect not. A Ukrainian version of the 5-day war would require that Ukraine launch a major offensive against the rebels, and it seems unlikely. It certainly wouldn't be smart of them to do so. I suspect current posturing by Ukraine and statements about the threat of Russian invasion are echoes of internal Ukrainian politics, power struggles between various oligarchical clans. Even if we believe Ukraine's claims (Динамика нарастания группировки россйиских войск на границах Украины) they don't show preparations for an invasion, rather they show on and off increases and decreases in Russian troops concentrations near Ukraine, and the current numbers aren't even the highest in 2021. Moreover the other article you linked (assuming they're correct) mentions that Russian troop concentrations aren't even near Ukraine necessarily. They are some distance away. To me this doesn't add up to an invasion plan. Rather I suspect Russia anticipates that Ukraine is going to have a difficult winter both politically and infrastructurally and Zelensky might be tempted to do what Poroshenko did and try to distract the public by some sort of military provocation against the rebels. Thus they're keeping extra troops on stand-by, not on the Ukrainian border, but some distance away, not deployed for an invasion, but able to move into position if needed.
 
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