REUTERS

Russia is actively increasing its army's combat capabilities in the occupied Crimea, boosting the number of troops and arming them with new models of weapons, creating conditions for strengthening its nuclear potential in the region, Ukrainian intelligence reports.

On its professional holiday, January 24, the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine, SZRU, published on its website the White Paper 2021, according to Apostrophe.

The White Paper lays down the SZRU's assessment of major external threats to Ukraine's national security in foreign policy, economic, information, and other domains, with the special focus in this regard on the main source of such threats, which is Russia.

Ukrainian intelligence reports that the Russian government in Moscow, despite declarative statements, has never considered Crimea in terms of developing its economy. By increasing the number of troops on the occupied peninsula and creating conditions for strengthening its nuclear potential in the area, the Kremlin intends to make Russia a dominant power in the Black Sea region.

Read alsoPolitical destabilization among dimensions of Russia's hybrid aggression against Ukraine – intel chief"Russia has created a nearly 32,500-strong powerful multitype military grouping in Crimea, covering ground, air, and sea components. The Russian side is creating conditions for deploying in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea nukes, their individual components and carriers, working to restore nuclear infrastructure, and posing a threat to the national security of Ukraine," says the SZRU White Paper.

According to intelligence, almost all Soviet-era nuclear-capable anti-aircraft missile systems have been accepted for service in Crimea. Amid the ongoing re-equipment of these surface-to-air missile systems with modern missiles, new missile systems have been put on combat duty. Such launchers already cover most of the Black Sea, while surface-to-surface missiles cover it entirely. Also, Russia deployed in Crimea nuclear-capable warplanes and missile ships.

"Russia's moves to deploy air defense systems in the annexed Crimea, modernize the Russian Black Sea Fleet and massively deploy naval-based cruise missiles such as Kalibr-NK and Kalibr-PL testify to Moscow's plans to ensure own access control capabilities both in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean," the report reads.

Moreover, Russia's plans to develop and use tactical nuclear weapons, including in the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea, "allow the Kremlin to increase pressure on the international community and aggressively dominate the Black Sea, Mediterranean, and European theaters of operations," said the Ukrainian intelligence.

Such behavior on the part of the Kremlin, the White Paper says, poses a threat not only to the security and national interests of Ukraine, but also to those of the latter's strategic partners.

On a separate note, the intelligence notes that such policy infringes on the rights of the indigenous people in the area, the Crimean Tatars.

Read alsoUNGA adopts updated resolution to protect human rights in occupied Crimea"Russia is gradually and comprehensively transforming Crimea into one large military base, taking into account all factors required, including the social dimension. The demographic structure on the peninsula is being altered. Crimean Tatars, as a 'disloyal' part of the population, are being deliberately pushed out toward mainland Ukraine or Turkey, by manipulating social aid policies, while military and their families are being turned into a social base of the occupying power," the SZRU reports.