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World Russia's sort-of Ukraine military withdrawal

01:35  23 april  2021
01:35  23 april  2021 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

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Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu has ordered troops involved in military exercises near the border with Ukraine to return to their places of permanent deployment by May 1, reports the Russian state news agency TASS. Military units from the Black Sea Fleet and the Russian Navy’ s Caspian Flotilla were also involved in the drills. Since late March, Russia has been massing troops near its borders with Ukraine and on the Crimean Peninsula (which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014).

Russia begins the withdrawal of troops, which took part in military exercises in occupied Crimea and near the borders of Ukraine , to their permanent bases in the Southern and Western Military Districts. Such actions pose a threat to Ukraine ' s military security. According to the Armed Forces of Ukraine , enemy troops are reinforcing their advanced units with reconnaissance teams and sniper pairs, involving Russian army instructors in personnel training. Russia -led forces' artillery units are reportedly on full alert in certain districts, including villages and towns in occupied Ukrainian territory.

Much is being made of Russia's announcement on Thursday that it is withdrawing its military forces from Ukraine's border. But are those forces really heading back to their home bases?

a group of people in uniform © Provided by Washington Examiner

Yes and no.

While the majority of ground forces appear to be preparing to depart, other elements remain in place. We will have to watch carefully, for example, to see if the helicopter and jet fighter squadrons deployed to Crimea stay or go.

Still, it's already clear that some important units are staying put. Russian defense minister Sergey Shoygu — a very close confidante of Vladimir Putin — noted that the "equipment and weapons of the 41st Combined Arms Army... should be located in field parks at the Pogonovo training ground in the Voronezh Region."

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Russia will begin withdrawing its military forces from the Ukrainian border starting Friday, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced Thursday, after the buildup had raised alarms in the West of renewed clashes. Speaking during snap readiness exercises in annexed Crimea, Shoigu ordered the general staff of the armed forces “The troops demonstrated the ability to reliably defend the country.” “In this regard, I have decided to complete the Southern and Western military district reviews,” he added. Facing accusations of massing more than 100,000 troops in the region, Russia ’ s military said

Russia is withdrawing troops from the borders of Ukraine to places of permanent basing as RBK reported citing Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. Recently, the escalation was observed in Donbas, as well as the build-up of the Russian forces near the border with Ukraine . As we reported, a Ukrainian military man died today, on April 22, in the Donbas Conflict zone as a result of the hostile attack. Topics

This decision to keep the 41st Combined Arms Army in proximity to Ukraine is notable. After all, the 41st army is one of the Russian army's best formations. In 2018, it was given new electronic warfare equipment. Its subordinate 119th Missile Brigade has also been equipped with the advanced Iskander-M missile system. Locating the Iskander-M at Pogonovo training ground puts it within striking range of central Ukraine, including the city of Dnipro on the Dnieper river. The 41st Army's 61st anti-aircraft brigade is also very well armed. It possesses the most advanced variant of the Buk anti-air/missile air defense system, the M3. Notably, this is a variant of the same system that was used to bring down the MH-17 passenger airliner over southeastern Ukraine in July 2014.

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" Russia is beginning to withdraw the troops of the Southern and Western military districts to their permanent bases from April 23. The inspection of military units is coming to an end," Shoigu said. Russian media outlets also quoted Shoigu as saying that "the goals of the snap inspection have been fully achieved; the troops Ukrainian Defense Minister Andrii Taran said on April 10 that the real goals of Russia ' s military build-up near Ukraine 's borders could be to increase pressure on Ukraine so that it makes concessions in the negotiation process and to demonstrate the readiness to use force.

The Russia - Ukraine Conflict. Russia ’ s Military Buildup. Sergei K. Shoigu said troops would withdraw from the area by May 1, citing a training exercise there that had ended. But the plan includes leaving some armored vehicles in field camps near Ukraine . A satellite image of military equipment this month near Voronezh, Russia , about 100 miles from the border with Ukraine .

The question follows: why is Russia keeping these advanced capabilities, of which it has a limited number, so close to Ukraine?

Shoygu says its because the 41st Army's equipment will be used in the Zapad military exercises later this year. I'm skeptical. Again, Pogonovo training ground is just 200 miles north of the rebel-held city of Luhansk, and sits right on the M4 highway. That highway directly feeds access highways into south-eastern Ukraine, meaning that it would take only about six hours for the equipment to reach the Ukrainian front lines. Moreover, the 41st Army is headquartered in Novosibirsk, 1,800 miles from Pogonovo. That's a long distance to keep equipment separate from its command and force apparatus.

Top line: this directive offers Putin a way to get his ground forces home before their ill-discipline and poor morale become truly corrosive (it isn't easy to be a Russian soldier). It also allows Moscow to save money on the logistics costs of an extended forward deployment. But the 41st Army's equipment also gives Putin means to rapidly increase his pressure on Ukraine should he so desire.

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Russia has warned Nato against sending any troops to help Ukraine , amid reports of a large Russian military build-up on its borders. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would take "additional measures" if Nato were to make such a move. Ukraine 's President Volodymyr Zelensky joined the criticism, saying " military exercises and possible provocations along the border are traditional Russian games". In a phone call with Mr Zelensky on Friday, US President Joe Biden "affirmed the United States' unwavering support for Ukraine 's sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia ' s

Russian Foreign Ministry again falsely accuses Ukraine in military escalation at Donbas. The Russian military is monitoring NATO actions in the area of the future exercises of the alliance, Shoigu said. The OSCE SMM found 12 Grad MLRS outside the withdrawal lines in the occupied territory. Russia launched military drill in Crimea as part of ongoing combat readiness check. 6 hour ago.

Tags: Opinion, Beltway Confidential, Foreign Policy, National Security, Ukraine, Russia, Army, Vladimir Putin, NATO, Black Sea

Original Author: Tom Rogan

Original Location: Russia's sort-of Ukraine military withdrawal

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