Russia has strengthened its southwestern flank and increased its military presence in Ukraine.

The US State Department has expressed concern about the buildup that Russia has announced and that it says are meant to counterbalance an increased military presence near its borders.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said

“Since 2013 … we have formed four divisions, nine brigades and 22 regiments. They include two missile brigades armed with Iskander missile complexes, which has allowed to boost fire power to destroy the potential adversary.”

US State Department spokesman John Kirby said:

“If true, we believe this would appear to run contrary to ongoing efforts to stop violence and to de-escalate the tensions in eastern Ukraine in line with Russia’s commitments under the 2014-15 Minsk agreements.”

The remark comes hours after Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, told a meeting at the defence ministry in Moscow that Russia has strengthened its southwestern flank, including deployment of more air defence systems there, and placed a “self-sufficient” contingent of troops in disputed Crimea.

The Ukrainian territory of Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation on the 18th of March 2014. Since then, the peninsula has been administered as the de facto Crimean Federal District, constituting two Russian federal subjects—the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

The annexation was preceded by a a military intervention by Russia in Crimea, which took place in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and was part of wider unrest across southern and eastern Ukraine.

The Russian Federation opposes the “annexation” label with Putin defending the referendum as complying with the principle of self-determination of peoples. In July 2015, Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev said that Crimea had been fully integrated into Russia.


    • so the invasion occupation of the Crimea (part of a nation in the process of gaining NATO membership at the time) is not enough for a NATO responce against russian aggression?

    • Again with respect Simon, your earlier comment highlights that you do not seem to be fully aware of what NATO has in the region.

      For example, my father is a roofer, that doesn’t mean I have any idea what kind of slates are on your roof.

    • You can guarantee they have the absolute minimum. USA which has the bulk of the force is more interested in China. We send a token force and the rest of Europe can be discounted as ineffective but make up the numbers

    • Simon having a family member in the military isn’t the same as knowing what’s going out there.
      And certainly a few planes and 500 troops is not what is out there at the moment having just came back from Germany, Estonia and Lithuania

    • Here’s the real truth: if Russia attacked, the whole of Europe are toast, including us. China, America could combine their forces and after a long and bloody war, defeat Russia. But they won’t work together, so it will be a triangular war of attrition until one of them presses the nuke button, then everyone else with nukes will nuke everywhere else and the world will end. The end

    • The Russians are only “afraid” of USA and us. Possibly the French. The rest of Europe are part timers, no stomach to fight and have been told for a long time “if the Russians invade bunker down and wait for the Americans” Europe is far too busy spending money on it’s social state

      • Simon, wholly agree. That’s why 3 x EU member nations have to rely on the USA and Canada deploying a Battalion+ force from 4,000+ miles away, and the EU pariah UK travelling twice as far as much closer EU NATO Members. This demonstrates that, Germany excepted, EU calls of Solidarity, Unity and Togetherness are nothing more than Hot Air when fellow EU member nations are looking the Russian Bear in the Eye. Begs the Question: ‘do Estonia, Latvia and Poland feel “Safer IN” the EU or NATO’? Most of EU wont spend the 2% on its own defence while happy to be defended by those who do. Significant that largely pro-Remain Media have glossed over this shameful EU demonstration of much-proclaimed Solidarity. I exclude France from this as they too, like USA and UK, spend £bns providing a Strategic Deterrent umbrella over an ungrateful EU and are taking the hits for dysfunctional EU ‘Homeland Defence’.

    • Simon you have absolutely no idea how NATO operates. I would suggest stop playing Call of Duty and get down to your local armed forces careers office instead of being an armchair general.

    • Ffs some utter bs on here. Russia really are not this huge great big force that are unstoppable. The USA spends over 10x the amount they do, the U.K. Spends not far of what they do and we have a lot less men and less area with much better equipment in some areas. Russia whilst no easy task is using old equipment that has not seen the maintenance or upgrades that ours or NATOs have in most areas. Russia military strategy is of a defensive measure. They really are not the threat people make of them. They are by no means a push over, however NATO has them trumped in near enough every area.

    • Btw we spend alot more on salaries and administration than they do. Ships we are well superior, 5th gen aircraft too. Everything we do is 10x more expensive because of health and safety (as it should be) subs we can’t compete. F16 won’t stand up to mig typhoon won’t beat sukoi. Army we are superior. If we were so superior Russia would stay quiet

    • Simon you’re about 60, you try and take selfies (fail) and you know nothing about Nato. Stick to what you know, going down the pub and singing along with the juke box.

      • Sorry but I agree with Simon. He’s backed up by ex-dep SACEUR Sir Richard Sherif and ex-SACEUR James Stavridis. If you have the two most senior people within NATO openly stating that things aren’t all rosy, who predict a war with Russia in the next year because NATO’s state of readiness isn’t even close to what would be required to repel or deter a Russian invasion of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, you should probably listen. Just sayin’

    • It’s be stated by key officials in America that’s it will take 30 to 60 hrs for Russia to defeat NATO.also they have the capability to move such number witch also has been document as a concern as when they do there exercises how quickly they can move.

    • Ummm nope David. You are referring to the comments of a certain US Commander who has already been rebuked.
      Russia had huge issues in tackling Georgia and Chechnya. Old equipment…Lack of open communication between individual units as the Russians still favour a single command doctrine. Lack of precision airpower.

    • What drugs are you on David! The USA alone spends 10x the amount on defence than Russia. The combined NATO spend is something like 16/17 times Russia’s defence. It’s not that hard to figure out now is it.

  1. Russia s military equipment is still very very inferior to the west s technological superiority- but we don’t have the numbers required to stop an onslaught. The only thing to stop them is an arsenal of trident submarines The Russians know this very well and skirmish accordingly with their bear surveillance aircraft between the uk-Iceland gap, where we scramble 2x qra eurofighters on a regular basis. If I was head of the MOD I would buy another 5 squadrons of eurofighters. We only have 138 currently with about 70 in active service. I would have ten squadrons more of hawk t2 fighters as support for defence. I would reintroduce 50 nimrod at a cheap cost and bring back the Blackburn buccaneer as anti shipping strike with 5 squadrons-all paid for and still deadly potent. My homeland protection would be the most paramount concern.

  2. The Crimea and eastern Ukraine were part of Russia SSR until Kruschov ( sorry about the spelling ) transferred it to the Ukraine SSR in the 50s for administration purposes.

    Hence the support for Russia in those areas

    I do not agree with Putins methods however. He does have issues.

    The Russian military does have some nice kit but not a lot of it and a very poor support and maintainence regime


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