Caucasus 2016: Russia's maneuvers at the Ukraine's border

Author : Borys Sokolov

Source : 112 Ukraine

Movement of Russian troops is associated with a desire to scare Kyiv and other partners of the "Normandy format"
15:51, 31 August 2016

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Caucasus 2016

The current operational readiness test of Russian troops, allegedly as a part of preparation for "Caucasus 2016" military drills, has caused obvious concern in the world. Pentagon is concerned about the sudden check: “We remain deeply concerned by the intensifying violence in the East Ukraine and the proximity of these Russian forces to Ukraine, given the direct Russian involvement in the conflict in Donbas.” Russian Foreign Ministry gave the angry response to these assumptions and recommended the United States to be focused on working with its clients on the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

Related: Experimental watchtower starts working on Ukraine-Russia border

In fact, Russia has redeployed its Airborne Divisions and marines to Crimea and Krasnodar. According to the Ukrainian intelligence, there are 42 thousand Russian soldiers across the occupied part of the Russian-Ukrainian border and Crimea. This number includes Black Sea Fleet, which, with the exception of a Marine, is unlikely to be directly used in case of war against Ukraine.

In general, the number of Russian groups aimed against Ukraine has not changed too much (40 thousand). According to the Ukrainian intelligence, there are also four tactical missile complexes "Tochka-U," 298 tanks, 1,566 armored vehicles, 363 artillery pieces, and 169 multiple rocket launchers.

Related: About 100,000 Russian troops stationed in Donbas and on border with Ukraine

But the Russian aviation group near Ukrainian borders is more impressive: 468 aircraft and 303 helicopters. Russia cannot invade Ukraine with aviation only, taking into consideration a pretty decent level of Ukrainian defense. 30 thousand Russian troops (excluding the Black Sea Fleet sailors) are not enough to start a serious war. The possibility of Blitzkrieg is low, so it might result into long battles, but the West would not let Russia make a long war with Ukraine.

Related: Russia is trying to undermine system of European security

This war would make sense for the Kremlin only if it had a chance to defeat Ukraine very quickly. In this case, Russia would locate its troops and weaponry near the Ukrainian border. But it would be impossible to hide from American technical means of control. In this context, Pentagon’s statement on the Russian "sudden check" is a preventive measure. Putin is warned that the world is watching after his actions and that he cannot ignore certain limits. And the current turmoil with the movement of Russian troops is associated with a desire to scare Kyiv and other partners of the "Normandy format."

Related: 13th Russo-Turkish war: the main perspectives

However, the military demonstration is aimed at solving problems not only in Ukraine, but also in Syria. Putin wants to show the world, that's what we have, and that's what we can be used in Syria and Ukraine. He hastens to use Obama's position; Germany and France will also have elections soon.

Concerning Ukraine, French and German foreign ministers stated that the Russian "sudden check" is violating of the Minsk II. It is significant that the famous 12-hour talks of Lavrov and Kerry touched only the Syrian issue, but not the Ukrainian one. Obviously, Obama understands that during his term he would not manage to mediate Donbas conflict, so he decided to focus on Syria, believing that nothing dramatic would happen in Ukraine in the coming months. But the situation in Syria is more and more chaotic.

Related: The clue: Why Russia concentrates troops on Ukrainian border?

However, Russian position in Syria is not winning. It limits of the Turkish military intervention are not clear. Moscow is quite satisfied with the fact that Turks on Syrian territory will fight with the Kurds that are supported by the US. However, there is a risk that Erdogan would not be confined to Kurdish areas, and he would direct his troops to Aleppo, hoping to topple Assad. Therefore we can assume that the "Caucasus 2016" military drills are designed primarily to cool the bellicose ardor of the Turkish president. Because the Turkish invasion of Syria apparently was sanctioned Washington.

Related: NATO: Undeclared Russian military drills only worsen relations with Alliance

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