Our country has informed the OSCE about the military potential accumulated by the Russian Federation against Ukraine, Ukrinform reports.

Ukrainian and American experts, as well as the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, warn that under the pretext of strategic exercises “Caucasus 2020” Russia may resort to a large-scale offensive against Ukraine. The other day, the Russian president signed a decree on conscription from the reserve “for military training” – without specific dates for this meeting. And this only increased the likelihood of an attack;  the decree may hide the attempt of the Russian leadership to conduct a covert mass mobilisation for military aggression.

Against this background, the question arises: what is the number of Russian troops ready to be involved against Ukraine? How many units of armament and military equipment do they have? In general, the answer to these questions was made on 1 July at the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation.

Another factor of destabilisation is the militarisation of the occupied Crimea. The non-transparent nature of military exercises in the Russian Armed Forces is also unfavorable.

Occupation corps in Donbas are larger than some European armies

“The Russian Federation should provide data on the number of servicemen and armaments and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces stationed on the territory of Ukraine in the Global Exchange of Military Information,” said Lieutenant General Leonid Golopatiuk. He stressed the need to develop effective mechanisms for international control over the military activities of Russian troops stationed in the temporarily occupied territories of eastern Ukraine and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

The Ukrainian militarian stressed that today Russia has already created three interspecies groups of troops near the border with Ukraine, “which are capable of carrying out sudden offensive operations on the territory of Ukraine with limited objectives without declaring mobilisation and with minimal preparatory measures.” And this is not taking into account the Crimean peninsula turned into a “ground aircraft carrier” and the occupied areas of Donbas, where army corps are deployed by Russia, in its military power and size outnumber the armies of a number of European countries.

The creation of a group of Russian occupation troops in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, as part of the 1st and 2nd Army Corps, is connected with the appearance of a large number of weapons and military equipment in eastern Ukraine.

The combat composition of the 1st Army Corps (AC) includes:

5 brigades (1st, 3rd, 5th separate motorised infantry brigades, 100th separate motorized infantry brigade of the Republican Guard and a separate artillery brigade);

3 separate regiments (11th separate motorized rifle regiment, 9th separate assault motorized infantry regiment of marines, and a separate commandant’s regiment);

10 separate battalions (divisions).

The combat composition of the 2nd Army Corps (AC) includes:

4 brigades (2nd, 4th, 7th separate motorised rifle brigades, and a separate artillery brigade);

2 regiments (6th separate motorised rifle regiment and separate commandant’s regiment);

6 separate battalions (divisions).

The staff of the 1st and 2nd ACs is about 35,000 servicemen. These army corps in the uncontrolled territories of Donbas include 481 units of battle tanks, 914 units of armored combat vehicles, 720 units of artillery systems, and 202 units rocket systems of volley fire.

At the same time, command and staff, as well as positions of scarce specialties in the 1st (Donetsk) and 2nd (Luhansk) army corps, are occupied by personnel servicemen of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation with a total number of about 650 people.

In addition, in the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, there are units of operational / combat and logistical support, military advisers, instructors of the RF Armed Forces. Their total number reaches 21,000 thousand Russian servicemen.

To maintain a constant voltage on the line of contact, and to ensure the viability of the 1st and 2nd AK from the territory of the Russian Federation through uncontrolled areas of the state border of Ukraine, continues to supply ammunition and fuel and lubricants.

Crimea as a “ground aircraft carrier”

As a result of the militarisation of the occupied Crimea, the peninsula became a so-called “ground aircraft carrier.”

Today, a powerful interspecies group of troops (forces) has been created on the territory of the temporarily occupied ARC, covering land, air and sea components and numbering about 32.5 thousand people.

In addition, the Coast Guard was created and a group of the Federal Service of the National Guard (up to two brigades) and the Russian FSB Border Service were deployed.

There is an active increase in the strike capabilities of the Russian armed forces, which are illegally based on the territory of the peninsula, by increasing the number of troops and equipping them with new models of weapons and military equipment.

The basis of the ground component is the 22nd Army Corps, on the basis of which the creation of a general army is planned in the future and the 810th separate brigade of marines. Currently, six battalion tactical groups are ready for use.

The air component is enhanced by the deployment of bombing, assault, fighter and army aircraft on the peninsula.

Belbek and Gvardiyske airfields were reconstructed for Russian long-range bombers. The infrastructure for the storage of nuclear weapons on the territory of Crimea is being prepared.

The combat capabilities of the naval component have been increased due to the adoption of the latest attack ships and submarines – carriers of cruise missiles based on the “Caliber” type (a total of up to 70 warships/boats, 6 submarines, a total volley – 84 missiles).

Even according to official data provided by Russia within the framework of the Vienna Document in 2011 (VD-2011), the number of weapons and military equipment of the Russian Armed Forces in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has almost tripled over the past six years.

Thus, according to the annual exchange information of the Russian Federation for VD-2011, as of 1 January 2020 there were 684 units of weapons and military equipment on the territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea , which is 453 units more than on 1 January 2014. In particular, after the occupation of the peninsula, Russia transferred 31 battle tanks, about 200 armoured combat vehicles, almost 100 artillery systems, as well as 63 combat aircraft and 34 combat helicopters.

Three groups are capable of a sudden attack

The Russian Federation continues to increase the number of troops (forces) along the state border of Ukraine. In particular, the active formation of new military units (formations and associations) and the reorganization of existing military formations in order to increase their combat potential. To date, 28 battalion tactical groups have been deployed along the border.

The formation of three new units is nearing completion – two armies and an army corps, which will be fully operational by 2020-2021.

In the ground component in the Western Strategic Direction, the 20th All-Army was created as part of the 3rd Motorized Rifle Division and the 144th Motorized Rifle Division. At the same time, the 448th Missile Brigade of the 20th Army is armed with Iskander operational and tactical missile systems (OTRK).

The 8th All-Military (Shock) Army was formed in the South-Western Strategic Direction as a part of the 150th Motorized Rifle Division, the 20th Separate Motorised Rifle Brigade, and the 1st (Donetsk) and 2nd (Luhansk) Army Corps. The Iskander missile brigades are to be established in the district and the army.

In total, the number of ground groups of the Russian Armed Forces along the border of Ukraine is about 87,000  servicemen, up to 1,100 tanks, up to 2,600 armoured combat vehicles, up to 1,100 artillery systems, up to 360 volley fire missile systems, and 18 operational and tactical missile systems.

Re-equipment with modern and modernized models of aircraft continues (Su-30SM, Su-35S, Su-34, Su-25SM3, MiG-31K with a hypersonic complex “Dagger” and helicopters of various modifications). In total, about 330 fighter jets and 230 helicopters are based at base airfields near the border.

The formation of mobilisation deployment centers is also underway, on the basis of which up to 4 all-military divisions may be formed (Boguchar, Kamensk-Shakhtynsky, Novoozerne, temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea).

Thus, three interspecific groups have already been created near the border with Ukraine, capable of carrying out sudden offensive operations on the territory of Ukraine without declaring mobilization and with minimal preparatory measures.

Natalia Tolub

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