RUSSIA has deployed 20 warships off the coast of Ukraine and a reported 1,000 elite paratroopers to the border amid fears he's planning a lightning strike invasion to seize Kiev.
Vladimir Putin has already massed 127,000 troops on the frontier with Eastern Ukraine – with a Russian incursion threatening to trigger World War Three.
Putin deployed the latest fleet of warships to the Black Sea from the Crimean ports of Sevastopol and Novorossiysk for the second time in three days.
Sources suggest Moscow's latest round of war games involves frigates, patrol ships, missile boats and landing ships – as concerns grow that a potential offensive could take place on multiple fronts at any moment.
“The crews of the ships will conduct a number of exercises and training sessions on the organisation of communications, safe manoeuvring in areas with heavy navigation, and the organisation of air defence at sea," a Black Sea Fleet statement said.
Elsewhere, The Kremlin has been beefing up its force on the land border with Ukraine with the deployment of the crack 217th Guards Parachute Regiment of the 98th Airborne Division.
The deployment was reported by independent Russian researchers known as the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT).
They pointed to video showing tarpaulin-covered BMD-4M airborne combat vehicles and BTR-MDM airborne armoured personnel carriers.
Most read in News
CASE BLOWN OPEN
Chief Maddie suspect 'has circle of pals to provide alibi at key moment'
CASE BLOWN OPEN
Screams heard after boy, 5, 'stabbed' to death as woman, 49, arrested
Five times Andrew ‘was seen sweating’ as rape accuser demands proof he can’t
Dad, 44, charged with murder after daughter, 19, killed in car smash
“This is the first confirmed video of paratroopers moving closer to the border with Ukraine,” said the CIT team.
“In any large-scale attack on the territory of Ukraine, the Airborne Forces should play a decisive role.”
The CIT have since referenced reports that one Russian tactic could be a rapid advance on Ukraine, with the possible installation of a pro-Kremlin puppet government.
“We consider an offensive from the territory of Belarus and/or the Bryansk region in the direction of the Ukrainian capital as at least one of the possible scenarios of Russian actions in Ukraine.”
Russia staged drills with its lumbering Yars intercontinental nuclear ballistic missile transporters in Ivanovo region, as part of exercises by its strategic missile forces.
Elsewhere, in Rostov region, bordering Ukraine, the 150th Mechanised Infantry Division staged “combat readiness exercises” involving more than 1,000 troops.
It comes as Boris Johnson warned of Russian plans for a “lightning war” that could take out the Kiev amid reports its troops are already in Ukraine.
The Prime Minister has pledged British troops will join Nato forces in Europe help defend Ukraine if Russia dares to invade.
Other Members of the alliance – including Denmark, Spain, Bulgaria and the Netherlands – are sending more fighter jets and warships to Eastern Europe to bolster defences in the region.
The US has also put 8,500 troops on alert to deploy at short notice, which Russia said caused it “great concern”.
Isabel Sawkins, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, thinks any potential conflict in Eastern Europe would not be confined to its borders.
She told The Sun: “The crisis has the potential to extend its tentacles into all corners of the globe.”
Analysts say Putin is now almost certain to launch a limited strike in the next ten days — which could include an attack on the three-million-strong population of the Ukrainian capital.
The Kremlin strongman has 127,000 troops, tanks, artillery and missile batteries plus warjets and drones ringing the border with its pro-Western neighbour after peace talks failed.
He is also ready to draft his favourite “war toys” into battle in Ukraine – including robot tanks, kamikaze stealth drones and paratrooper dogs.
He hopes a lightning victory will boost him back home after being dogged by a flagging economy and Covid woes.
Military sources say another 30 trainloads of troops have poured into Ukraine’s pro-Putin neighbour Belarus in recent days- and 200 more could follow.
The move – claimed to be for “military exercises” in Belarus – sparked alarm in Kiev, just 100 miles from the Belarusian border.
The conflict could see the first combat use of remote-controlled tanks, and the first ever aerial dogfights between unmanned drones.
Source: Read Full Article