The number of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine has not changed much today, while at the same time there has been an increase in battle groups of battalions along the entire border of Ukraine as part of the Russian-Belarusian exercise West 2021.
This is according to the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Lieutenant-General Valery Zaluzhny, who answered Ukrinform’s question on the evolution of the number of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine since May.
“I cannot say that this has changed for the worse. The Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus are holding a scheduled event, which they have openly announced. In accordance with their plan for the exercises, there has been some increase tactical battalions along the entire state border, as well as in Belarus. We are monitoring them all and we are preparing, accordingly, to react appropriately, “said the commander-in-chief.
Responding to Ukrinform’s questions about areas where enemy provocations are most possible, Zaluzhny said: “We expect provocations everywhere, and especially in the area of operation of the Joint Forces. Yes, of course, they are possible. Why? Because the enemy uses any pretext, any means to show his influence. Therefore, we are waiting for them everywhere and will be ready to respond as far as possible. “
At the same time, he assured that the war in Ukraine had already lasted for seven years, so the border defenses, including those in the north, have long been strengthened.
As Ukrinform reported earlier, the Russian and Belarusian military began the practical part of the Joint Strategic Exercise Zapad (West) 2021 on Friday morning.
The spatial scope of the exercises extends over 2,000 kilometers – from the Baltic Sea in the Kaliningrad region to the training grounds in the Nizhny Novgorod and Voronezh regions (near the borders of Ukraine).
The practical part of the exercise began simultaneously at nine Russian and Baltic Sea training sites, as well as five sites in Belarus. The exercises involve approximately 200,000 troops, more than 80 airplanes and helicopters, up to 760 units of military equipment, including more than 290 tanks, more than 240 artillery units, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, and up to to 15 warships. Some 12,800 military personnel are operating in Belarus, including up to 2,500 Russian military personnel deployed, more than 30 combat aircraft and helicopters, up to 350 units of military equipment, including approximately 140 tanks, up to 110 artillery units, MLR systems and mortars.
At the same time, the Russian military claims that the maximum number of forces that are part of military units under a single operational command in Russia, covered by the 2011 Vienna document on confidence and security building measures, will not exceed 6,400.
The strategic exercise will last until September 16.