So, does this movement of troops suggest there will be a repeat of the events of 2014 when a protracted conflict between Russia and Ukraine that began in February? Concern is already being expressed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, calling the new Russian build-up “unjustified and deeply concerning” and said it was “the largest massing of Russian troops since the illegal annexation of Crimea”.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Russia was “openly threatening Ukraine with war and destruction of our statehood,” adding the caveat “Russia won’t be able to catch anyone by surprise anymore”.
There may have been a Minsk peace deal agreed in 2015, but tensions have remained high ever since, and these new moves by Russia are likely to make matters worse. But are these actually preparations for a full scale invasion of Ukraine?
Many military analysts don’t seem to think so as Russia tends to infiltrate not outright invade, although the anti-Russian people of Crimea might suggest otherwise. A US special report for Congress last year did highlight the involvement of Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.