How Russia Has Increased Its Military Buildup Around Ukraine







Other military or air installations

Russia has begun moving

troops, armor and advanced

antiaircraft systems into

Belarus, a close ally.

Around 130,000 Russian troops

have been deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Forces deployed north of

Ukraine could stretch

the country’s forces thin and

threaten its capital, Kyiv.

Approximate line

separating Ukrainian and

Russian-backed forces.

Nearly 20,000 troops are near

two breakaway provinces, where

Ukraine has been locked in a

grinding war with Russian-backed

separatists since 2014.

Other military or air installations

Around 130,000 Russian troops

have been deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Russia has begun moving

troops, armor and advanced

antiaircraft systems into

Belarus, a close ally.

Approximate line

separating Ukrainian and

Russian-backed forces.

Nearly 20,000 troops are near two

breakaway provinces, where Ukraine

has been locked in a grinding

war with Russian-backed

separatists since 2014.

Around 130,000 Russian troops

have been deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Russia has begun moving

troops, armor and advanced

antiaircraft systems into

Belarus, a close ally.

Approximate line

separating Ukrainian and

Russian-backed forces.

Nearly 20,000 troops are near two

breakaway provinces, where Ukraine

has been locked in a grinding

war with Russian-backed

separatists since 2014.

Around 130,000 Russian troops

have been deployed near the

Ukrainian border.

Russia has begun moving

troops, armor and advanced

antiaircraft systems into

Belarus, a close ally.

Nearly 20,000 troops are near

two breakaway provinces, where

Ukraine has been locked in a

grinding war with Russian-backed

separatists since 2014.


Source: Rochan Consulting. The New York Times

Note: Numbers for newly arrived troops to Belarus, parts of Crimea, and western Russia are rough estimates.

A build-up of Russian forces near the border with Ukraine has raised concerns among Western and Ukrainian officials that the Kremlin might be preparing for significant military action, possibly an invasion. This map, compiled by The New York Times, shows troops, tanks and heavy artillery moving into positions that threaten to widen the conflict in Ukraine’s east and potentially open a new front on Ukraine’s northern border, closer to the capital, Kyiv. From there, they can also menace the countries on NATO’s eastern flank.

Russia currently has about 130,000 troops on the Ukraine border, according to Ukraine’s military. U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed that the Kremlin has drawn up plans for a military operation involving up to 175,000 troops that could begin in the coming weeks. While it is not clear whether President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has decided to launch an attack — and Moscow has said repeatedly in recent weeks that it has no plans to do so — analysts say the country is well on its way toward constructing the architecture needed for a significant military intervention in Ukraine.

This map represents a snapshot of current Russian positions, as well as broad estimates of the number of troops and kinds of equipment deployed within striking distance of Ukraine. It is based on information obtained by Ukrainian and Western officials as well as independent military analysts and satellite imagery.

Much of the buildup so far, according to officials and military analysts, has involved troops and equipment that take time to deploy, including tanks and heavy armor, some of which have traveled by train from bases as far away as Siberia.

Before launching a significant military operation, Russia needs to deploy reserve soldiers and logistical infrastructure, like field hospitals, that until recently appeared to be missing from positions near Ukraine, analysts say. But these elements along with additional troops have been moving into some areas of Russian deployment, Ukrainian and western officials say.

Much of the attention so far has been directed at the buildup of forces near two breakaway provinces in eastern Ukraine, Donetsk and Luhansk, where the Ukrainian military has been at war with Russian-backed separatists since 2014. The separatist forces, which include Russian troops and Ukrainian fighters opposed to Kyiv’s rule, number about 30,000, according to an assessment by the Ukrainian military.

Since the start of 2021, Russia has moved an additional five battalion tactical groups into the border area near Luhansk and Donetsk, including about 5,000 soldiers sent to reinforce the 12,000 or so stationed there permanently, according to Ukrainian authorities.

Just as significant, according to officials and military analysts, are the forces massing north of Ukraine in areas such as Klintsy, at the point where the Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian borders meet. Russia has also begun ferrying troops, armor, fighter jets and advanced antiaircraft systems into Belarus, a Russian ally and Ukraine’s northern neighbor, putting a growing force within range of Kyiv. Russia’s Defense Ministry says the buildup in Belarus is purely for military exercises scheduled to begin Feb. 10. But, American officials and NATO say these exercises could be a pretext for deploying troops meant to threaten Ukraine and put NATO allies on edge.

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