Reuters reports: U.S. and European security agencies estimate Russia has deployed military and militia units totaling more than 30,000 people along its border with eastern Ukraine, according to U.S. and European sources familiar with official reporting.
The current estimates represent what officials on both sides of the Atlantic describe as a continuing influx of Russian forces along the Ukraine frontier, the sources said.
The 30,000 figure represents a significant increase from a figure of 20,000 Russian troops along the border that was widely reported in U.S. and European media last week.
But U.S. and European security sources noted that these estimates are imprecise. Some estimates put current troop levels as high as 35,000 while others still suggest a level of 25,000, the sources said. [Continue reading…]
CNN adds: Troops on Russia’s border with eastern Ukraine – which exceed 30,000 – are “significantly more” than what is needed for the “exercises” Russia says it has been conducting, and there is no sign the forces are making any move to return to their home bases.
The troops on the border with Ukraine include large numbers of “motorized” units that can quickly move. Additional special forces, airborne troops, air transport and other units that would be needed appear to be at a higher state of mobilization in other locations in Russia.
There is additional intelligence that even more Russian forces are “reinforcing” the border region, according to both officials. All of the troops are positioned for potential military action.