According to AGTI Intelligence, a private security firm, Russian troops are massing 25 miles from the Ukrainian border.
The Russians had begun massing troops at Belgorod, 25 miles north to the Ukrainian border. Rostov on-Don and Sevastopol also on high alert
— Global Alerts (@AGTIntelligence) February 24, 2014
According to their website:
AGT Intelligence (AGT) is a multinational leading defense and national security organization providing innovative, mission-critical solutions to government and private clients.
It is also thought that now outlaw President Yanukvych has taken refuge at the Russian naval base in Sevastopol which also happens to be where the Ukrainian fleet is. There are rumours that Russian marines have begun some sort of operation in the Crimea at Sevastopol but as of now it is unconfirmed. There are also rumours that Russia has airlifted personnel of the 45th Airborne Special Forces Division from Kubinka and Pskov to Anapa as well as six MI-8 aircraft. (east of Ukraine border).
UPDATE: This has been confirmed by the Russian Navy itself: (Translated)
Today at 12:00 of Temryuk port (Russia) should arrive in Sevastopol large landing ship “Nikolai Fil’chenkov” with 200 soldiers on board. In this Monday, Feb. 24, citing its sources from the Crimea, the chairman of the Ukrainian faction “Freedom” Oleg Tyagnibok correspondent MFN.
“I can show sms” – said Tyahnibok and read: “Today at 12:00 foreseen arrival of Temryuk port in the Russian Federation in the city of Sevastopol large landing ship” Nikolai Fil’chenkov “from the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation. It takes about 200 armed soldiers 328 – separate battalion of Marines, who are based in Temryuk and 10 BTR-80. “
He also noted that “on February 22-23, … IL-76 flights airlifted from Kubinka (Moscow region) to Anapa personnel of the 45th Airborne Special Forces units and four Il-76 flights from Pskov to Anapa more division relocated. And from Sochi Anapa airlifted six Mi-8 aircraft (obviously, Mi-8 – MFN) “- said Tyahnibok.
What is known is that as Interfax Ukraine reported, “At the entrance to Sevastopol near restaurant “Puck” at the Yalta highway appeared antitank hedgehogs - crew patrol says it measure against frequent carjackings in Sebastopol, said “Sevastopol newspaper.”Source
810th Separate Naval Infantry Brigade — Kazachye Bukhta, Sevastopol (a Separate Naval Infantry Regiment until 1 December 2008)
- 880 Separate Naval Infantry Battalion
- 881 Separate Assault Battalion
- 888 Separate Reconnaissance Battalion
- 1613 Separate Artillery Battery
- 1619 Separate Air-Defense Artillery Battery
- 382 Separate Naval Infantry Battalion
A Naval Infantry Brigade, equipped with the PT-76 or T-80 and BRDM-2, consists of 2 Tank Battalions, and 4 to 5 Naval Infantry Battalions, one motorised with BTR-60-series amphibious vehicles. A tank battalion originally had 36 MBTs. At least one infantry battalion is airborne trained, while all of the remaining infantry battalions are trained to be able to carry out air assault missions. Source
Perhaps the most troubling thing about rumours of Russian military movement is the ‘proof’ provided below in the video. It is unconfirmed so take the video as is but the Olympics are over and Russia sees the government in Kiev as no more than mutinous criminals and completely illegitimate.
Ukrainian flags are being burned and Russian flags are being raised in the Crimea and East#Ukraine. pic.twitter.com/wldkxsDSXu
— DJ Rubiconski (@Rubiconski) February 24, 2014
That picture says it all. I fully expect Russia to send in troops to, at the very the least, the Crimean Peninsula. But, if it is true and they are massing in Belgorod than I expect nothing less than an invasion of the Eastern Ukraine.
According to one source:
More grimly, this report continues, General Gerasimov was “advised” by President Putin to contact his NATO counterpart to inform the West of an “immediate order”given to Black Sea Naval Infantry and Coastal Defense forces in the Crimea oblast to protect the vital Isthmus of Perekop, which is the narrow 5-7 km wide strip of land that connects the peninsula of Crimea to the mainland of Ukraine.
Russian troops put onto “full war footing” to defend Crimea, this report says, include the nearly 1,200 soldier/marines of the 810th Naval Infantry Brigade along with supporting forces belonging to the 880 Separate Naval Infantry Battalion, 881 Separate Assault Battalion, 888 Separate Reconnaissance Battalion, 1613 Separate Artillery Battery and the 1619 Separate Air-Defense Artillery Battery.
Again, if true, and there is no reason for it not to be, we are talking about the Ukraine here, than this could very well spell the beginning of a much bigger and disasterous war, World War 3 even.. Russia has every reason to fight this, politically and militarily.