Russian special services are developing scenarios of provocation in the occupied Donbas and on their own territory to serve as a pretext for launching full-blown military aggression against Ukraine, believes Oleksandr Danyliuk, a former advisor to the minister of defense, now heading the Defense Reform Center non-profit.
"To launch aggression against Ukraine, they only need a pretext, which traditionally Russian special services are able to set up on their own," the expert wrote on Facebook, as per Guildhall.
"Among the scenarios, for which we are seeing signs of preparation, highly likely are Russian provocations in the occupied territories and even in the Russian territory. In particular, among other options, Russian special services are considering the possibility of bombing the May 9 parade in the [occupied] city of Donetsk to then put the blame on the Armed Forces of Ukraine," Danyliuk said.
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- 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 preparing for military drills. Such actions pose a threat to Ukraine's military security.
- According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, enemy troops are reinforcing their advanced units with reconnaissance teams and sniper pairs, involving Russian army instructors in personnel training. Russia-led forces' artillery units are reportedly on full alert in certain districts, including villages and towns in occupied Ukrainian territory.
- On March 31, The New York Times reported Russia was pulling 4,000 troops to the border with Ukraine.
- Footage was shared on the Internet, showing a train with Russian military hardware en route along the Kerch Strait bridge to occupied Crimea.
- The U.S. European Command raised its alert status to the highest level after fighting had resumed between Russia-led forces and Ukrainian troops in Donetsk region.
- The U.S. Department of Defense said it was "aware of Russian troop movements" on Ukraine's borders and was concerned about recent escalations of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.