U.S. Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, Lieutenant General Scott Berrier has commented on the recent build-up of Russian troops near Ukraine's border, saying such actions by Russia were likely "part of its ongoing campaign to pressure Ukraine to acquiesce to Kremlin demands."
That's according to a statement for the record submitted by Berrier to the U.S. Senate's Armed Forces Committee.
Read alsoFrance's Macron in phone talk presses Putin over Ukraine – mediaAccording to him, the prospects for a near-term resolution are dim, and the presence of Russian-led forces in eastern Ukraine remains a viable coercive tool for the Kremlin even if Moscow decides to choose to deescalate its conventional military posture.
"On the Crimean Peninsula, in addition to recent deployments, Moscow continues to enhance its long-term military posture to deter Western naval and air operations, project military power in the region, and signal its resolve to retain the peninsula," Berrier said.
Russian troops massing along Ukraine's borders
- On March 30, 2021, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Colonel-General Ruslan Khomchak said Russia had deployed 28 battalion tactical groups along the state border of Ukraine and in the temporarily occupied territories. It is also said to be planning to bring up to 25 battalion tactical groups under the guise of preparations for military drills.
- Fifteen warships of Russia's Caspian Flotilla entered the Black Sea.
- Russia also relocated Su-25SM3 warplanes from Russia's Stavropol Krai (Territory) to occupied Crimea.
- On April 20, 2021, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the number of Russian troops on the borders with Ukraine might increase to over 120,000 servicemen within a week.
- On April 22, 2021, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said his country would begin the withdrawal of troops, which had taken part in military exercises in occupied Crimea and near the borders of Ukraine, to their permanent bases in the Southern and Western Military Districts.