The recent deployment of hardware close to Ukraine's border, captured this week on video seen by Reuters, is what a source close to both the Kremlin and to pro-Russian terrorists said was a deliberate show of force at a time of rising tensions between the former Soviet states.
But the military buildup is not a sign of a major escalation in the conflict, according to the source and the two people close to the terrorists, as reported by Reuters.
"Moscow is doing it openly, deliberately uncovering tanks in the daytime. This is not how war is prepared, this is just a show of strength," said the source close to the Kremlin and to terrorists.
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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, 2021, 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.
- The United States, finding reports of Russian military movements on Ukraine's border credible, asked Moscow to explain the "provocations" and is ready to engage on the situation.