There's new allegations of a Russian troop build-up along the Ukrainian border, and Western leaders are sounding the alarm over what's perhaps becoming another brewing showdown near Donbass and the Crimea region.
The Washington Post reported Saturday that "A renewed buildup of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border has raised concern among some officials in the United States and Europe who are tracking what they consider irregular movements of equipment and personnel on Russia’s western flank."
The fresh allegations of Russian muscle-flexing aimed at Kiev come after last April's West-Russia showdown and tensions due to large-scale Russian drills along the border wherein tens of thousands of additional troops were deployed from their home bases to border areas near Ukraine. However, the Kremlin pointed out at the time that it's free to move troops anywhere within its sovereign borders that it wants.
The new weekend Washington Post report admits that the purpose of this current troop build-up remains "unclear" - while detailing the following:
Videos have surfaced on social media in recent days showing Russian military trains and convoys moving large quantities of military hardware, including tanks and missiles, in southern and western Russia.
"The point is: It is not a drill. It doesn’t appear to be a training exercise. Something is happening. What is it?" said Michael Kofman, director of the Russia studies program at the Virginia-based nonprofit analysis group CNA.
The concern comes just after the conclusion of the major 'Zapad 2021' military drills primarily held between Russian and Belarusian forces in September, including a handful of other allies. Analysts say large units never returned to their 'home' bases after the drills, but instead went to outposts near the Ukrainian border.
Ukraine's government is now suggesting as much as well, according to WaPo:
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s national security and defense council, said in a statement that after the conclusion of the Zapad 2021 exercises, Russia left military equipment, as well as control and communications centers, at training sites along the Ukrainian border.
Danilov estimated that the number of Russian troops deployed around the Ukrainian border at 80,000 to 90,000, not including the tens of thousands stationed in Crimea.
In recent months the Kremlin has accused Kiev of renewed aggression against pro-Russia separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, resulting in new casualties, while Ukrainian officials have charged that it's the Russian state that's fueling renewed fighting on stalemated front lines, especially by secretly transferring arms.
This as Vladimir Putin and other Russian leaders continue to warn Ukraine and NATO over Russian "red lines" of NATO military and base expansion into Ukraine. Russia has said it will be forced to act if in observes NATO military expansion in Ukrainian territory.
2/ Here is alleged video of Russian materiel being sent to Ukrainepic.twitter.com/aeKACKWX6u— Josh Wolfe (@wolfejosh) October 31, 2021
Putin last summer charged that the West, especially the United States, exercises de fact control over Ukraine's top leadership.
"We will never allow our historical territories and people close to us living there to be used against Russia," Putin stated previously. "And to those who will undertake such an attempt, I would like to say that this way they will destroy their own country."