Russia, after all, has more fighter planes in Crimea and at bases near Ukraine than previously reported, increasing its capacity for political intimidation or military intervention. The satellite images, analyzed by The Wall Street Journal, show Su-30 fighters lined up on the runway at an airbase in Crimea – the aircraft, visible in a satellite photo from April 16, was not there at the end of March.
Other Russian military equipment has also been seen in the most recent images of Crimea, including troops, tanks, and armored units, attack helicopters, smoke generators, reconnaissance drones, blocking equipment, and even a military hospital.
All the equipment, along with military aircraft stationed in the region – Su-34, Su-30, Su-27, Su-25, and Su-24 – and also depicted in the photos, have been strengthening Moscow’s political influence on Ukraine.
“The Russians deliberately duplicated various elements of airpower that would be needed to establish air superiority over the battlefield and directly support ground troops,” Philip Breedlove, a retired US Air Force general who served in The Wall Street Journal, told The Wall Street Journal. as the top military commander of NATO when Russian forces annexed Crimea.
The general added that the photos show that Russian units were not prepared to attack immediately, but that Moscow has several options for moving forward with military action.
The director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), William Burns, shared the same assessment, advances The Wall Street Journal, confirming that the Russian mobilizations may aim to intimidate the Ukrainian government and send a message to the Biden government. “It is something that not only the United States but also our allies must take very seriously,” Burns told the Senate Intelligence Committee.
The Biden administration is already preparing to provide military aid to Ukraine in the event of a Russian attack. The options are expected to include, according to The Wall Street Journal, anti-tank, anti-ship and anti-aircraft systems, although they have not yet been officially presented. The US government is also considering further economic sanctions against Russia.
Source: with Agencies