Vladimir Putin has increased military threat against Ukraine after the West rejected his request to permanently prevent the country from joining NATO.
Social media videos from Belarus and western Russia, close to the Ukraine border, show military weapons including tanks and missiles near the potential conflict zone.
Footage posted from Gomel, a city in Belarus, show military vehicles arriving in the city, located just 40 kilometres from the Ukrainian border making it within striking distance.
Harrowing scenes of tanks thought to be Russian 9P163M-1 ‘Kornet-T’ ATGM launchers are taking part in combat drills. Trains carrying military equipment occupied half of the trackage for the receiving and departure area, one person commented on Twitter.
Vehicles have been spotted in Orsha, Luninets, Rechitsa, Minsk and other parts of the country.
TG Militarist/east2west news)
Social media/east2west news)
Combat readiness drills are also being carried out in the Baltic and Black Sea.
Commander of the Western Military District Col-Gen Alexander Zhuravlev confirmed that more than 1,500 military personnel are taking part in the planned combat training event.
Some 300 units of military and hi-tech equipment is involved, including the modern P-260 Redut, Andromeda and Belozer complexes, he said.
Russia says it does not plan to invade Ukraine and that it will withdraw troops once the drills are complete, reports Reuters.
Video footage shows Aleksin and Kabardino-Balkariya antisubmarine ships conducting a live-fire exercise against a mock enemy in the Baltic.
The vessels are part of a 20-ship naval task force currently at sea, with a similar operation underway in the Black Sea.
TV Zvezda/east2west news)
“The combat exercise was carried out at varying distances using shipborne artillery weapons, AK-176M and AK-630M,” said a statement from the Russian Baltic Fleet.
Separately, Su-24M front-line bombers and Su-30SM multi-role fighters practiced bombing targets at a training range in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave wedged between NATO countries Lithuania and Poland.
Drills were held in the same location with Mi-24 and Mi-8 attack helicopters.
Thousands of Russian communications troops are also involved in a ‘large scale radio training’ exercise ad are stationed in the military district bordering Ukraine.
Nato members sent out additional ships and fighter jets to allied countries in Eastern Europe over fears of a possible invasion, the FT reported on Monday.
TV Zvezda/east2west news)
The news comes as British defence secretary Ben Wallace confirmed he is to visit Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, Minister of Defence of the Russian Federation.
Mr Wallace told state news agency TASS: “I want the Russians to understand the Ukrainians will fight and Russia risks its economy, it risks being isolated, and that is not a legacy President Putin wants to be remembered for…
“There is a chance it could be stopped but I’m not optimistic.”
Ex-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, now deputy head of the Russian security council, said: “No war is desirable… no-one is seeking war and everything must be done to prevent a war, especially the confrontation between Russia and NATO.”
He said “the main and only opportunity [to avoid war] is to reach agreements on security guarantees”.