First Deputy Speaker of Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy reports that Russia is building two military bases in the Belgorod Oblast and significantly expanding its military presence on the border with Ukraine in preparation for further aggression. The former Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council discussed these developments on the Inter TV channel, September 13
According to Parubiy, a new military base is being build near the town of Valuyki in the Belgorod region, 25 km from the Ukrainian border, and an old Soviet base in Boguchar is being restored.
“Aside from Valuyki, a base is being prepared –actually restored — in Boguchar, Belgorod Region, right next to the Ukrainian border. An entire army… is being transferred there from Nizhny Novgorod,” he said.
Parubiy said Russia’s actions are designed to frighten and pressure the Ukrainian government while preparing the groundwork for a possible full-scale invasion of Ukraine. He pointed out that the most combat-ready units of the Russian army have already been transferred to the Ukrainian border.
Furthermore, according to Parubiy, Russia intends to carry out extremely large military exercises, involving about 100,000 soldiers, in the Central district in late September-early October.
Paribiy predicted that relative calm would prevail in the ATO zone until the end of September, before Putin’s trip to New York on September 28-29 for the UN General Assembly meeting. He also discounted any notion that Russia is expanding its military presence near the Ukrainian border only to have a bargaining chip with the West. Putin will be willing to bargain with the West, he believes, but it will be only to offer some concessions on Syria in exchange for a free hand in Ukraine.
“I can confidently say that on September 28-29 in New York Putin will be bargaining with the West over Syria. He will offer some concessions if they close their eyes on what is happening in Donetsk, Luhansk and Crimea,” he said
As previously reported, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has determined that there are 50,500 Russian troops and militants in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and that some 200 Russian military training camps for Russian soldiers and militants have been deployed to Rostov-on-Don, Russia, Crimea and the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
The pessimistic view of Russia’s intentions is seconded by Russian military expert Pavel Felgenhauer , who believes the huge Russian tank army that Putin has been supporting for more than two years indicates that Russia is preparing for war in Ukraine.
“Preparations for war are taking place on the border in Ukraine. Very large military forces have been concentrated there. Moreover they have been supported for more than two years. In Donbas alone there is an entire tank army consisting of Russian troops and local militants and two companies. The number of Russian mercenaries is reaching 40,000 and there are about 60 tank units. And of course this is serious and for the long-term, since the crisis in Ukraine has not been resolved and it is not clear if it will be resolved at all,” he said.
Felgenhauer also thinks any assumptions that Russia will now concentrate on Syria are mistaken since Ukraine is many times more important than Syria for the Russian Federation.