They also talked to some commenters privately, some of those appeared to be the Russian soldiers or their loved ones. Corroborated by previously known facts, the data acquired in this way showed that Russia transfers large parts of military units for a several-month-long stay near the Ukrainian border in Belarus or Western Russia. Troops include units necessary in large-scale operations, some of which fought against Ukraine in 2014-2015.
- Read also: Military buildup registered at nearly half of Russian bases at Ukraine’s border in late 2021, satellite image project shows
The deployment of Russian troops primarily by rail from Russia’s Siberia and the Far East to Ukraine’s border will hit a half-year mark soon. The latest development in the ongoing deployment was the beginning of transferring Russian troops to Belarus.
Officially, those are going to partake in the Union Resolve 2022 joint drills with the Belarusian military on 10-20 February. Unofficially, the experts believe that those may be used as one prong of a pincer attack on Kyiv.
The Belarusian-Russian military drills “Union Resolve – 2022” will be held from 10.02 to 20.02. They will work on reinforcement of the state border, searching for illegal armed groups & enemy groups and destroying them, as well as post-conflict settlement issues. pic.twitter.com/vIBY7TRlan
— Belarusian Hajun project (@Hajun_BY) January 18, 2022
In their joint investigation, Radio Liberty Russia (RL) and the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) reveal the destinations of soldiers and officers arriving from eastern Russia on a “business trip,” and analyze what they and their relatives have to say about their deployment.
The researchers corroborated the data obtained from social media comments and private messages from the commenters by previously discovered open-source data on the deployment of Russian military units.
Image of a likely Russian military camp in Belarus, geolocated by @danvan71 near Rechitsa, 200 km north of Kyiv, shows BM-27 Uragan multi-launching rocket system transloader vehicle https://t.co/RhD67zwl9b pic.twitter.com/p3C3of8hCI
— CIT (en) (@CITeam_en) January 19, 2022
The obtained figures of departed personnel in some bases suggest that at least some units of Russia’s Eastern Military District transfer “a significant part of their personnel, and not just vehicles, towards Ukraine,” according to CIT.
In the past week, we and other researchers have noticed videos on social media showing military vehicles on trains in Russia's Far East, moving West.
Trucks, tanks IFVs and MLRS can be seen on the flatbed railcars. Eyewitnesses report several trains per week or even per day. pic.twitter.com/KCO7vjwA0n
— CIT (en) (@CITeam_en) January 12, 2022
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- Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s border “on par” with that of April, say online sleuths (late 2021)
- Putin may have pulled back from Ukraine border but he did not back down, experts warn (April 2021)
- What is Russia’s real grand strategy? RAND think tank investigates