RUSSIA is massing tanks on the borders of Europe amid growing fears that an invasion is imminent.
By Michael Havis / Published 8th August 2016
The military hardware has been deployed in northern Crimea, which was itself seized by Putin’s tanks in a 2014 invasion.
While the Kremlin has already pledged a “modern and well-equipped army and navy” will respond to the growing NATO presence in the Baltic.
Now, with a report warning that Russia is ready to declare war “overnight” and that NATO may not be able to stop it, the tension could reach crisis point.
And the bullets are already flying, with one Russian reportedly killed in a border shootout in northern Crimea.
“We will adequately respond to any aggressive action”
Ukrainian Armed Forces
Nariman Dzhelalov, deputy chairman of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis – which represents the peninsula’s ethnic Tatar group, revealed the tanks’ arrival.
“Witnesses report that large groups of Russian military hardware have been massed near Armyansk and Dzhankoy,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Dzhankoy has been cordoned off by troops with tanks and other equipment.”
Russia also closed its checkpoints along the Crimean border with Ukraine on Sunday morning.
The press centre of the State Border Service of Ukraine confirmed the closure to the Unian news agency in a statement.
It said: “The Russian occupying authorities suspended, for unknown reasons, the handling of citizens and vehicles crossing the administrative border with Crimea.”
Local journalist, Elzara Abduramanova, described a deadly skirmish near the border town of Krasnoperekopsk in a Facebook post shared by Mr Dzhelalov.
She said: “I don’t want to create panic, but today, as far as possible, it is better to refrain from visits even inside of the Crimea.”
Russian news site All Crimea blamed yesterday’s shootout, which killed one Russian, on Ukrainians trying to infiltrate Crimea.
But Ukrainian authorities, quoted by the local branch of Radio Liberty, dismissed the claims as nonsense.
Vladyslav Seleznyov, spokesman for the Ukrainian army, accused Russia of making “provocative and untrue” claims.
He said: “We are closely monitoring all processes taking place in the annexed territory of Crimea and will adequately respond to any aggressive action.”
YouTube footage uploaded by Crimean Human Rights watch showed a long convoy of military vehicles entering the peninsula.
Troops transports and armoured trucks were among those passing through the city of Kerch near the Russian border.
More military vehicles were shown at the city’s railway station in a photo on the Gazeta website.
NATO has conducted large-scale operations in Poland preparing for a potential invasion.