“As of March 30, twenty-eight battalion tactical groups of the enemy are stationed along the state border of Ukraine and the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, namely in Bryansk, Voronezh, Rostov [regions] and on the territory of the temporarily occupied Crimea. Lately, the Russian Armed Forces have been building up troops near Ukraine’s border in the north, in the east and in the south, namely in Bryansk and Voronezh regions and in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, pulling the forces from different regions of the Russian Federation under the guise of control exercises for the winter period of training, maintaining combat alert and general combat readiness for upcoming West 2021strategic exercises,” Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak said at an extraordinary plenary session of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on Tuesday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
According to him, up to 25 additional battalion tactical groups are expected to be concentrated, which, along with the forces and means already deployed near the border, pose a threat to Ukraine’s military security.
During the occupation of the Crimean Peninsula since 2014, Russia has built up the multi-service force of the Russian Armed Forces, which now stands at about 32,700 service members, the Commander-in-Chief noted. In mid-March, at the Opuk test site, the aggressor country practised air and naval landings by two battalion tactical groups with the support of an artillery tactical group from the 7th Air Assault Division. After the training, these units stayed in the area of the test site. Additionally, the grouping expanded due to the redeployment of five more battalion tactical groups.
In addition, according to Khomchak, groupings of Russian occupation troops were deployed in the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk regions: 1st and 2nd Army Corps consisting of 14 combat brigades, regiments and support units numbering about 28,000 people and operating with the support of Russian regular troops. Officers of the Russian Armed Forces hold command positions there. The staff of military advisers and instructors of the Russian Armed Forces totalling more than 2,000 people stay in the occupied territories to train reconnaissance agents.
"In Rostov region, there are up to 12 additional battalion tactical groups having a readiness period of 1-2 days, securing the minimum necessary set of measures for immediate response to possible military actions by Ukraine," Khomchak said.