Fears of a Russian invasion growing in East Ukraine

The alarm bells are ringing, especially in Kiev . “The Ukrainian and Western intelligence services have been observing a massive increase in the concentration of Russian troops for days,” said the Ukrainian ambassador to Germany, Andrij Melnyk, to our editorial team. “The Russians have around 114,000 soldiers off the eastern border of Ukraine and in the occupied Donbass. Around 32,000 troops are stationed in the occupied Crimea, and there are probably several thousand in Belarus too. “

Michael Backfisch

Berliner Morgenpost

The satellite image from November 1 shows Russian military vehicles that were recently stationed in the town of Jelnja near the border with Belarus.
The satellite image from November 1 shows Russian military

that were recently stationed in the town of Jelnja near the border with Belarus.

Photo:  Handout / AFP

Ukrainian ambassador warns: Never since 2014 has the danger of a Russian invasion been greater than it is today. NATO is concerned

Berlin. The whole world is currently interested in what is happening in the western Russian town of Jelnja. The US company Maxar Technologies took satellite images on November 1st showing Russian tanks, military vehicles and buildings on the northern edge of Yelnja. You are on brown-green terrain, there is a wooded area nearby.

Two things worry the Pentagon, NATO and the governments between Paris and Kiev: soldiers and equipment have only recently been housed there. And: The base is around 100 kilometers from the Belarusian and 300 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

What also makes the diplomats nervous: “After the last major military maneuvers by the Kremlin in April and autumn, the Russians left heavy weapons behind. For example, there are artillery, tanks, missile systems and multiple rocket launchers for the most part along the eastern border. ”More than 30 tactical battalion groups are on constant alert almost 250 kilometers from the Ukrainian border. Also read: The water war over the Crimea – is a new conflict looming?

NATO military exercises in the Black Sea

In Kiev, people are convinced that the Russian maneuvers had only one purpose: “They were designed to train an attack inside Ukraine,” says Roman Mashovets, deputy director for national security in the Ukrainian president’s office. In view of the allegations, Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin is turning the tables: The US and other NATO military ships, for their part, have heated up tensions with military exercises in the Black Sea .

According to reports in the Ukrainian press, the fear of war in the country has continued to rise. “We fear that a Crimean invasion 2.0 could occur,” emphasizes Melnyk. “Never since 2014, when the Russians occupied the Crimea and parts of eastern Ukraine with armed force, has the danger of a new, large-scale invasion been more acute than these days. We have three red alerts, ”warns the ambassador.

The telephone wires are glowing in the NATO headquarters in Brussels. General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg expressed concern about the “large and unusual” Russian troop marches on the Ukrainian border. He called on Moscow to refrain from “any further provocations or aggressive actions”. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had previously warned Russia against an invasion of Ukraine – this would be a “serious mistake”. The governments in Paris and Berlin made similar statements.

With water cannons against migrants

According to Ukraine, Moscow is behind the current refugee drama . “The staged migrant crisis on the border with Poland is also a smoke candle to disguise Russia’s military activities off the eastern border of Ukraine and in the Donbass,” emphasized Ambassador Melnyk. The fear of a repetition of the refugee crisis of 2015 should be fueled in the western public . “It is expected that the people in Germany will then no longer be interested in Putin preparing a new offensive in the east. The Kremlin boss is speculating on a blunting effect. “

The situation worsened on Tuesday. Polish security forces used water cannons against migrants on the border with Belarus . A spokesman for the Polish police said the people had been equipped with fire grenades and tear gas from the Belarusian side. A policeman was said to have been injured by a thrown object and taken to hospital with suspected broken skull.

On Monday, the Executive Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) spoke to the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko on the phone. The call was mainly about “the need for humanitarian aid” at the border, said government spokesman Steffen Seibert. The Greens foreign politician Omid Nouripour criticized the conversation as a “devastating signal”.

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