Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile systems have already been deployed.
The head of the Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR MO), Kyrylo Budanov, addressed the parliamentary committee on national security, defense and intelligence.
In early March, Budanov told MPs, groups of Russian armed forces were deployed near the Ukrainian state border, consisting of two combined armies, two air and air defense forces, as well as the Black Sea fleet, according to a UNIAN correspondent. reports.
He added that 28 tactical battalion groups have been put into combat readiness. Among them, 10 battalions were stationed in the Orel-Voronezh operational direction, 12 – in the direction of Don and six – in the direction of Crimea. The total number of troops deployed was 89,000.
Budanov went on to report that since March 18 a movement of troops has been spotted from the military districts of western, southern and central Russia, as well as from the Russian Navy – from the Northern Fleet. . The main staging areas were the Opuk and Angarsky training grounds in the temporarily occupied Crimea, a training ground near Klintsy in the Bryansk region, and the Pogonovo training ground in the Voronezh region. .
According to Budanov, to date, 19 additional batteries, a company tactical group, 10 tactical artillery groups and two special forces units have been deployed to the said sites.
The 12th Missile Brigade Tactical Group (six Iskander-M short-range ballistic missile systems and the 119th Missile Brigade Tactical Group (four Iskander-M launchers) were deployed to Opuk and Pogonovo.
In addition, another such tactical group with four Iskander-M missiles in service has yet to arrive in Pogonovo, Budanov added.
In total, Budanov notes, 47 tactical groups of enemy battalions have been deployed in occupied Crimea and near the borders of Ukraine to date (15 – in the Orel-Voronezh direction), 12 – in the direction of the Don and 20 – in the direction Direction Crimea.
“Before the end of April, the grouping is expected to be reinforced by nine more battalion tactical groups, for a total number of 56. We expect the deployment to be completed by April 20,” Budanov said, adding that the total number military personnel will reach 110,000.
In addition, he said, during the third decade of April, Russia set up three operational groups: one on the northeastern border of Ukraine, the second – on the eastern flank of Ukraine and the third – through the territory of the occupied Crimean Peninsula.
According to Budanov, a total of 330 fighter jets were deployed near the Ukrainian borders, as well as 240 helicopters.
Intelligence does not rule out Russia’s use of long-range bombers.
In addition, Russia employed warships and submarines from the Black Sea, Baltic Sea and northern fleets, as well as the Caspian flotilla, to support its air forces.
In addition, Budanov stressed, since the beginning of March, Russian intelligence services have intensified their efforts on Ukrainian territory.
According to him, the current situation generally resembles the events of July 2014 – the start of Russian aggression.
According to the head of the Directorate General of Intelligence, the exercises, which the Russians are using as a pretext to mass troops on the Ukrainian borders, are in fact “an operational camouflage element for the deployment of troops”, and the real objective “is to check the readiness of their forces for operational use, if the Kremlin makes a political decision. “
Read alsoUS Mission to OSCE Calls on Russia to Explain Ukraine’s Border WithdrawalIn addition, Budanov added, the situation on the line of contact remains complicated as units of the First and Second Corps of the Russian occupation forces intensify the bombardment of Ukrainian positions, resulting in a significant increase in casualties among the Ukrainian army.
In addition, Budanov noted, in the occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions, for the first time, young people are called up for military service for a period of six months, while more Russian passports are issued to residents of the territories. busy. (in April, a total of 450,000 Russian passports have already been registered).
âIn general, the analysis of the security of the environment around Ukraine testifies to an increasing level of threat that Russia will use military force to keep Ukraine within the sphere of its geopolitical influence, to constrain it. to abandon its Euro-Atlantic aspirations and resolve the question of the occupied territories on Moscow terms, âBudanov summed up.