Kyiv: Russia has 500 military planes on Ukrainian border

Russia has amassed roughly 500 tactical military planes and 340 helicopters along its border with Ukraine, Ukrinform reports, citing Vadym Skibitsky, spokesperson for the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry. He presented this data at a briefing titled “A military and strategic appraisal of the threat of the Russian Armed Forces invading Ukraine”.

According to Skibitsky, since 2013, Russia has been upgrading its airfield network along the border with Ukraine, and has updated and grown its fleet of military aircraft

The crews of the combat and tactical aircraft concentrated along the Ukrainian border have acquired combat experience during trips to Syria. “This means that the crews have enough experience to use bombs and high-precision weapons on the civilian population,” the military intelligence spokesperson emphasized.

In addition, the combat range of these aircraft encompasses the entirety of Ukraine.

The Kremlin has devoted a lot of attention to growing the numbers of troops and forming new divisions on Ukraine’s state border and in the European part of Russia.

“Russia has been devoting significant attention to the creation and training of tactical battalion groups, which are deployed along the border of our state today. The total number of Russia’s tactical battalion groups which are capable of carrying out combat tasks in our territory is 25,” Skibitsky stressed.

The Russian soldiers have honed their warfare skills during the military drills Kavkaz - 2016, Vostok - 2018 and Zapad - 2017. In particular, they practiced forming strike groups directed at Ukraine, mobilization, and deploying reserve forces and equipment from the central regions of Russia to the Ukrainian border.

Two days ago, Russian border guards attacked and captured two artillery boats and one tugboat belonging to the Ukrainian Navy. All three ships were damaged the Russians opened fire on them. Six Ukrainian sailors were injured, and Russia is now illegally detaining a total of 23 people.

Before this, a Russian ship rammed into the Yany Kapu tugboat, which was heading from Odessa to Mariupol, accompanied by the Berdyansk and Nikopol armored boats. The ramming caused damaged to the tugboat’s primary motor, its handrail, and the loss of a life raft.

The Ukrainian Naval Command emphasized that it informed the Russians in advance of its intention to transfer the boats, in keeping with international maritime traffic safety laws. The Russian FSB, on the other hand, claimed that it did not receive any notifications, and described its aggression as “protecting the state border”.

The agreement between Russia and Ukraine on the use of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait has not been denounced. It gives ships of both countries the right to move freely in these internal waters. 

  Ukraine, Russia, Crimea, Kerch Strait, FSB