Russia reinforces military presence in Crimea
Radio Liberty Crimea.Realii project publishes space agency images of Russia’s new military installations on the peninsula
KIEV – Russia is increasing its military presence in Crimea, rebuilding the captured Ukrainian military facilities, erecting new ones, deploying S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems, military bases, and radar stations.
This is stated in a series of materials published on February 7-8, Crimea. Realities based on the data and images provided by the National Center for Control and Testing of Space Facilities of Ukraine.
One of the pictures shows the village of Novoozernoe, not far from Lake Donuzlav. At the end of 2020, a military base appeared here, in fact in the middle of the steppe. According to the head of the information and analytical center of the National Space Center of Ukraine, Sergei Yanchevsky, in 2018 there were ruined cowsheds on this site, reports Crimea..
«Already in 2019 and during 2020, a large military unit appeared here. It is a storage base in case of war. For example, when mobilization is carried out, people need to be armed with something and this weapon is stored in such a place. These are hundreds of artillery systems, armored vehicles and the like.», – noted Sergey Yanchevsky.
In the images from space, it can also be seen that recently near Kerch appeared close to the track «Tavrida» new radar stations and at least eight S-400 missile systems. On the outskirts of Evpatoria, Russia has built a huge radio antenna with a diameter of about 30 meters. And in the same Evpatoria, in the former Ukrainian space center, the military space forces of Russia are now based.
The space center recorded dozens of different new buildings and modernizations carried out by Russia on the peninsula. For example, at the Belbek airfield near Sevastopol.
Satellite images provided by Crimea. Realities at the Space Center were shown to Yuliy Mamchur, who commanded an air brigade in Belbek in 2014.
In the material «Crimea in case of war: what is known about the new military bases of Russia», Yuliy Mamchur drew attention to the fact that not a trace remained of the old runway.
«The infrastructure of the facility for 2014 met the highest requirements. We could receive heavy aircraft like AN-124 «Ruslan». Based on this, I understand that they can use it not for civilian needs, but for landing strategic bombers such as TU-160 (TU-160 «White Swan» – supersonic bomber missile carrier. Can carry nuclear weapons – KR). This airfield is definitely not being prepared for the development of civilian infrastructure, it is being equipped for military needs.», – commented for Crimea.Realities former commander of the 204th Sevastopol Tactical Aviation Brigade Yuliy Mamchur.
The space agency is also suspecting that the airfield is being prepared to receive nuclear weapons. The Crimean authorities explained the large-scale construction by the fact that there will also be a civil airport. But, despite the plans and promises, the civil sector in Belbek never appeared.
Nuclear threats in the Black Sea
Executive Director of the Center for Applied Policy Research «Penta» Alexander Leonov believes that the process of militarization of the occupied Crimea threatens not only Ukraine, but also the NATO countries.
«Black Sea water area – this is partly NATO’s area of responsibility and, obviously, thus Russia poses a threat not only to Ukraine, but also to other countries, including NATO countries. And this is a long history of the buildup of troops, in which the fact that Ukraine cut off the water to Crimea – this is one of the constraints. As experts have repeatedly noted – there was enough water for the population of the occupied peninsula, but water resources are clearly not enough to turn Crimea into a military base for Russia», – says Alexander Leonov to the correspondent of the Russian Service «Voices of America».
The information that Russia may place nuclear weapons on the peninsula has been repeatedly discussed in various expert and military circles..
«Such actions are contrary to international agreements, and such information requires monitoring by the IAEA. Ukraine has the right to demand a meeting of the UN Security Council, since we are a non-nuclear state and have the right to confirm that there are no nuclear weapons on our territory», – notes Alexander Leonov.
Another danger in the militarization of Crimea, according to him, is, in fact, not a reduction in the volume of weapons, but a build-up and non-compliance by Russia with international agreements..
«There is only one way out – strengthen sanctions and pressure against Russia, including on the Crimean case», – believes Alexander Leonov.
On the effectiveness of Ukrainian politics
According to the director of the Center for Public Information Technologies «Forum» Valeria Dymova, the world community should not forget about the processes taking place in the occupied territory – Russia’s militarization of the peninsula.
«We understand that we cannot resolve the issue in a military-political way in the short term, and the Russian veto in the UN Security Council will not allow us to resolve this issue with this force, but we must always be ready for Russia’s aggression from the territory of Crimea. And take advantage of all international opportunities», – says Valery Dymov to the correspondent of the Russian Service «Voices of America».
«Russia will have to pay more. Ukraine needs to understand that Crimea without water will more and more take resources from Russia and cause social tension on the peninsula. We also need to focus not only on individual military bases and S-400 facilities, but also on the fact that Russia wants to get a corridor along the Black Sea coast of mainland Ukraine. – to Transnistria, where she also has questions with the coming to power in Moldova of Maya Sandu», – emphasizes Valery Dymov.
Thus, he says that, while paying attention to the militarization of the occupied peninsula, one should be prepared for «blow» and the expansion of Russian aggression from the occupied territory of Crimea.
«This is a big problem and several questions need to be addressed at once. – with the help of Great Britain and the United States, which are involved in the creation of naval bases in Ochakov and Berdyansk, to build up military forces near the Crimea and the Sea of Azov, to cooperate with the new administration in the United States. All this together will make it possible to optimistically answer questions about the effectiveness of Ukrainian policy in relation to the occupied Crimea.», – emphasizes Valery Dymov.