Updated Feb 11, 2022 - World

Satellite images show increased Russian military buildup near Ukraine

A satellite image of new troops and military equipment, including tents, deployed near an airfield in Crimea captured on Feb. 10.
New troops and military equipment, including tents, near an airfield in central Crimea on Feb. 10. Satellite image: ©2022 Maxar Technologies

Satellite images recently captured by Maxar Technologies show that Russia is continuing to deploy troops and military equipment, likely including field hospitals, near Ukraine's borders in Crimea, Belarus and western Russia.

The big picture: U.S. officials warned Friday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could begin at "at any time."

State of play: Although Russia denied plans to invade, it has amassed over 100,000 troops and several military vehicles, including tanks, troop transports and fighter jets, near Ukraine's northern, southern and eastern borders.

  • Six Russian warships, including some that could be used in amphibious landing operations against Ukraine, entered the Black Sea from the Mediterranean for naval drills this week, Reuters reports.
  • Russia and Belarus launched their largest joint military exercises ever on Thursday, involving up to 30,000 troops and sophisticated missile systems, and U.S. officials believe that Russia may use the exercises inside Belarus as cover to attack Ukraine from the north, Axios' Zach Basu reports.

What they're saying: Maxar Technologies said it has observed a large new deployment of troops and equipment at an abandoned airfield north of Simferopol, Crimea, that included more than 550 troop tents and hundreds of vehicles.

  • In Belarus, it said, it has seen a large new buildup of troops and military vehicles near Gomel, less than 15 miles from the border with Ukraine, while more troops and vehicles remain deployed near the city of Rechitsa.
  • It has also seen Russian troops and equipment recently arriving at a training area east of Kursk, Russia, which is about 68 miles from Ukraine's eastern border.
  • Two analysts, Foreign Policy Research Institute's Rob Lee and CNA's Michael Kofman, also spotted what appeared to be field hospitals in the images.
In photos:
A satellite image of a troop housing area and field hospital at an airfield near Gomel, Belarus.
A troop housing area and an apparent field hospital at an airfield near Gomel, Belarus, on Feb. 10. Satellite image: ©2022 Maxar Technologies
A satellite image of troop tents and other military equipment in central Crimea captured on Feb. 10.
Troop tents and other military equipment near an airfield in central Crimea on Feb. 10. Satellite image: ©2022 Maxar Technologies
An image of a troop housing area and military vehicles parked near Rechytsa, Belarus, captured by satellite on Feb. 10.
A troop housing area and military vehicles parked near Rechitsa, Belarus, on Feb. 10. Satellite image: ©2022 Maxar Technologies
Troops housing and military vehicles situated near Kursk, Russia, as captured by satellite on Feb. 10.
Troops housing and military vehicles near Kursk, Russia, on Feb. 10. Satellite image: ©2022 Maxar Technologies
New armored vehicle deployments near Slavne, Crimea, as captured by satellite on Feb. 10.
New armored vehicle deployments near Slavne, Crimea, on Feb. 10. Satellite image: ©2022 Maxar Technologies

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