NATO To Decide Counter Move As Russian Troops Mass Along Ukrainian Border

by Harold W. Reid and H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

November 27, 2021

WASHINGTON — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg issued a stern warning to Russia on Friday that any attempt to invade Ukraine would be costly.

Following large scale war games in western Russia this year, Ukraine claims Moscow has kept 90,000 troops massed along the Ukraine-Russian border.  According to the Ukraine Defense Ministry, units of Russia’s 41st army are stationed near Yelnya, about 160 miles north of the border.

When pressed for comment, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev denied Russian aims to invade the former Soviet satellite nation and also denied the presence of soldier in the area described by Ukraine officials.

“If Russia uses force against Ukraine that will have costs, that would have consequences . . . This is the second time this year that Russia has amassed a large and unusual concentration of forces in the region.  This military buildup is unprovoked and unexplained. It raises tensions and it risks miscalculations,” Stoltenberg said.

NATO members are scheduled to meet November 30th to December 1 in Latvia.  Although the NATO alliance stipulates activation when a member nation is attacked, it could send aid to Ukraine, which is not a member of NATO.  The general view is a Russian invasion of Ukraine could lead to further aggression or attacks on NATO.

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, after mass protests drove the country’s Moscow-friendly president from power. 

Ukraine and NATO accused Russia of sending troops and weapons to support the insurgents. Moscow denied this, claiming that Russians who joined the separatists were doing so voluntarily.  More than 14,000 people have died as a result of the fighting in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland known as Donbas.

NATO would be unable to provide Ukraine with significant military assistance in time to make a difference against Russian forces, so economic measures such as Western sanctions are more likely to be used to impose a financial cost on Moscow.

Ukraine Plans Border Barrier Against Russia & Belarus

by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

November 19, 2021

Denys Monastirsky

KIEV — Ukraine plans to invest millions of dollars to fortify its eastern borders in order to prevent potential unlawful crossings and safeguard the country from alleged Russian aggression, according to Denys Monastirsky, Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs.

Monastirsky, speaking to parliamentarians on Friday, recommended that $640 million be earmarked for engineering equipment on the borders with Russia and Belarus, which ranges  1,226 and 673.5 miles respectively.

According to the official, Kiev’s new demarcation line will consist of a complex of barbed wire barricades and fences, alarm systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, and 24-hour surveillance.

Many in the Ukrainian parliament have called imposing a state of emergency in border areas or regions if  similar to  what Poland and Lithuania have implemented to heed the uncontrollable influx of illegal migrants.

The current migrant crisis on the EU’s eastern frontiers has worsened in the previous two weeks, with thousands of desperate people, mostly from Iraq, Iran, and Syria, attempting to enter Poland and Lithuania via Belarus.

Moscow has frequently stated that it is not involved in the deteriorating humanitarian situation, despite accusations from Western politicians and commentators that Belarus and Russia are waging “Hybrid warfare.”

Russia To Deploy Paratroop Regiment To Crimea

by H. Haverstock, The Chicago Times

November 18, 2021

SEVASTOPOL – The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that it would deploy a new paratroop regiment to annexed Crimea by early December.  Experts say this is a response to British military agreements with Ukraine.

According to Interfax, Russia’s military said it would establish the new regiment on the peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, completing a reshuffle of forces announced by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in March.

At the same time, Moscow objected to a framework agreement under which Ukraine will use British funding to improve its naval capabilities, including the purchase of missiles and the construction of missile ships and a navy base on the Sea of Azov.

Ukraine and NATO members have expressed concern about Russian troop movements near Ukraine’s borders, while Moscow has accused Ukraine and their allies of destabilizing behavior.

Russia has responded to such concerns by denying any threat, criticizing “alarmist” news reports, and affirming its right to deploy troops on its own territory as it sees fit.

Eastern Europe: Migrant Crisis Risks Military Clash

by The Chicago Times Staff

November 11, 2021

MINSK – European Union nations bordering Belarus warned on Thursday that the migrant crisis on the EU’s eastern borders may escalate into a military conflict, while Ukraine, not an EU member, said it would send more troops to reinforce its border.

Belarus’ defense minister, Major General Viktor Khrenin, previously stated that in response to a buildup of Polish military forces near the border, Belarus would be required to take “appropriate response measures,” both independently and in collaboration with its ally, Russia.

Ukraine has announced increased combat drills and the deployment of 8,500 more troops and police along the country’s long northern border with Belarus.

The EU claims that Minsk is pushing out thousands of migrants from war-torn regions of the world to try to breach its borders, and that additional penalties might be imposed on Belarus and the airlines that transport the migrants as early as Monday.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko promised to retaliate, possibly by cutting down the flow of Russian natural gas via Belarus.  There has been no official comment on a gas supply embargo by Russia which is allied with Belarus.