Russia Prepares for Ukraine Invasion, NATO Bolsters Defenses

Between March 12-14, 2014, AlertsUSA issued the following
Flash messages to subscriber mobile devices:

3/14
US State Dept issues updated travel alert for the Russian Federation. Warns of potential for incr demonstrations and anti-American violence. Vigilance urged.

3/14
Dramatic SW movement of Russian troops, tanks and armored vehicles from northern & central Russia. Russian Foreign Min: US & Russia remain at odds on Ukraine.

3/13
Tensions incr as China warns against sanctions on Russia, saying move could lead to a dangerous chain reaction. Russia cont massing forces on Ukraine border.

3/12
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: In the case of escalation of situation in Crimea, US Army is ready to back Ukraine and its allies with military action.

On multiple occasions this week AlertsUSA subscribers have been notified via text messages to their mobile devices regarding ongoing, increasingly dangerous developments in the Ukraine.

With a referendum on Crimea’s secession to be held on Saturday, March 15th (Sunday in Crimea), by all accounts Russia appears to be preparing for what looks like the next phase; an invasion of the eastern Ukraine. As of the time of this report’s preparation on Friday evening, Western media outlets, if they are to be believed, are reporting Russia has amassed more than 80,000 troops along the Ukrainian border, as well as 270 tanks, 180 armored vehicles, 90 attack helicopters, hundreds of artillery pieces, and more than 100 military aircraft.

Alternately, Ukraine’s interim Defense Minister, Igor Tenyukh, reports Russia has deployed a much larger force. According to Andriy Parubiy, the head of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council, Ukraine is facing the threat of a full-scale invasion from various directions.

Military analysts are noting that while Russia claims the moves are training exercises, such operations require notification of neighboring states under a series of conventional arms agreements. To date, none has been received. In fact, the existence of the mobilization was denied by the Kremlin until Thursday of this week when live fire exercises began within only a few kilometers of the Ukraine border.

U.S. intelligence officials state that Ukraine’s interim government is appealing to the U.S. for direct military aid, including arms, ammunition and intelligence support, though the Obama administration has reportedly only agreed to send military rations for the time being.

According to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey:

If Russia is allowed to do this, which is to say, move into a sovereign country under the guise of protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine, it exposes Eastern Europe to significant risk because there are ethnic enclaves all over Eastern Europe and the Balkans.”

General Dempsey went on to say that the U.S. does have treaty obligations with our NATO allies and he has assured them that should the treaty obligation is triggered, the U.S. would respond [militarily].

As reported in last week’s issue of Threat Journal, NATO members Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania have been stepping up defensive measures, including movement of tanks and personnel into border positions, as well as seeking additional assistance from other NATO members, including the U.S.. The Pentagon has already deployed more than a dozen fighter aircraft to the region to help patrol the skies, and this week it was announced that at least two AWACS surveillance aircraft have been sent to fly patrols over Poland and Romania to monitor the crisis in neighboring Ukraine. It was also announced this week that the Bush carrier battle group would remain in the Mediterranean as an additional resource. The U.S. guided missile cruiser USS Truxton is currently in the Black Sea.

In direct response to this buildup of U.S. and NATO forces, Russia has deployed at least six SU-27 Flanker fighter jets to Bobruisk airfield in Belarus.

This situation is fluid and has significant potential of getting ugly, very fast. Despite efforts by diplomats to talk each other into submission, few expect Russia will ever relinquish control of the strategically vital Crimean peninsula. It is equally unlikely that Russia will stand down and allow the Ukraine, and particular the eastern part of the country, to be absorbed into the EU and ultimately NATO.

To this end, following more diplomatic talks on Friday afternoon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that the U.S. and Russia remain at odds over the situation. He also repeated President Vladimir Putin’s declaration of the right to invade Ukraine to protect Russian citizens and “compatriots”.

Here again AlertsUSA warns readers that this situation is rapidly moving towards a possible dangerous confrontation between the U.S., NATO and Russia. Given other tension-filled regions in the world, it is highly probable that an outbreak of hostilities in central Europe could easily result in additional conflicts popping up, such as in the western Pacific between China and Japan, North and South Korea and even between Iran and Israel. With major powers preoccupied, regional skirmishes are a distinct possibility and a regular part of defense planning.

There should be no question that with the downturn of the global economy, numerous countries around the world, including the U.S., awash in debt and the increasing scramble for strategic resources, we are entering into a dangerous time period.

AlertsUSA continues to monitor the situation in Ukraine closely and will immediately notify service subscribers of any significant escalation or substantial U.S. involvement as events warrant.