Russia has massed over 150,000 troops along the Ukrainian border and in the annexed Crimea peninsula in a new military camp revealed by satellite images.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell confirmed the news on Monday after talks involving Ukraine’s foreign ministry and said: ‘It is the highest Russian military deployment at Ukrainian borders ever’.
He warned: ‘The risk of further escalation, it’s evident.’
The camp, located next to Kachyk Lake on the south coast of Crimea, appeared over the course of a month to house Russian soldiers and vehicles that Putin has been ferrying to the region on the back of trains and trucks.
Images taken by PlanetLabs satellites on April 13 show at least 1,000 vehicles on site, lined up in fenced-off areas opposite infantry tents. Only a fraction of that force was visible in another image taken a month earlier, March 15.
A secondary sub-camp is also visible around a mile to the west of the main camp, on the shores of Kachyk Lake. That camp primarily consists of vehicles in fenced-off pens, with a handful of infantry tents visible.
While Ukraine has previously warned that as many as 40,000 new Russian troops have been stationed in Crimea, in addition to another 40,000 on the mainland, it is the first time that a camp housing the force has been pictured.
Tensions have spiralled over the build-up of Russian troops around its southwestern neighbour as an intensification of clashes with Moscow-backed separatists has fuelled fears of a return to widespread fighting in Ukraine.
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Source: Daily Mail