A few moments ago we showed a map of the various Russian military units amassing near the Ukraine border (whose movements we had been tracking for the past several days), so the ongoing less than stealthy escalation by Russian forces in preparation for what by all accounts looks like a preparation to take on east Ukraine should come as no surprise to anyone. And yet, it appears to have surprised Othe head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Andriy Parubiy, who earlier today claimed that Russian forces near the border totaled more than 80,000 solders, 270 tanks, 370 artillery systems and 140 combat aircraft: precisely what Zero Hedge readers know already. His assessment: “Ukraine today is facing the threat of a full-scale invasion from various directions.”
Aleksandr Golts, an author and military analyst, noted that the operations were not training exercises like the huge one Mr. Putin ordered at the end of February that require notification of neighboring states under a series of conventional arms agreements.
He added that the operations were clearly intended as a warning of Russia’s readiness to intervene, if necessary, noting that the parachute drop was on a scale not seen since the collapse of the Soviet Union. They also served to tie down Ukraine’s beleaguered military and prevent any effort to challenge the secession of Crimea.
“The goal is very clear: not to permit Ukrainian troops from moving toward Crimea,” he said. He later met with his national security council in Sochi.
As long that’s the only goal. Interpreter adds:
While the Russian government claims that these are training exercises, it’s also worth noting that those have to be pre-announced to neighbors under conventional arms agreements. They were not. In fact, the existence of this mobilization was denied by the Kremlin until today.
It adds that the last time Russia conducted “drills”, Crimea was quickly and quietly annexed. In the meantime, we hope Europe has a significant “Strategic Gas Reserve.” It will likely need to use it quite soon.