Russia is continuing its military buildup close to Ukraine’s borders despite the assurances of the country’s highest authorities.
In the last week, Russia has made statements saying that they are withdrawing troops, but satellite imagery and intelligence data appears to show a build up of troops on the border.
A series of videos and photos posted to social media accounts within the last 5 day showing new armored formations of Russian Armed Forces located close to the Ukrainian border.
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It is worth mentioning that colom of military vehciles incuding maine battle tanks with bizarre-looking, top-mounted cage armor and assault bridge systems.
Meanwhile, Russian military build-up continues, military convoys formed in immediate proximity to the border of Ukraine
— Liveuamap (@Liveuamap) February 21, 2022
Also all the Russian military vehicles have been marked with a Latin Z in white square.
Bellingcat reporter Aric Toler, says his group has been monitoring Russian military symbols for the last eight years, but they have “no idea what they [the Zs] are” and haven’t seen them before. “So, assume the worst, I guess/fear,” he wrote on Twitter.
Re: the “Zorro Squad”, or all the Russian military vehicles that (starting today) have Latin Z’s painted on their sides. Ruslan has been monitoring this stuff nonstop for 8 years and has no idea what they are, and hasn’t seen it before. So, assume the worst, I guess/fear. https://t.co/PsiWQLjjDX
— Aric Toler (@AricToler) February 20, 2022
Others have speculated Russia is borrowing a play used in World War II by allies who used symbols to avoid friendly fire accidents since most Ukraine tanks are Soviet era and easily confused with Russia’s fleet.
🇷🇺👀 Russian military insignia’s removed and replaced with the letter “Z”. You know, like JFK’s arm.😉
Seen more in the Belgorod region. pic.twitter.com/Y7s2Dx1aQM
— WendySue (@WendySueHoo1) February 20, 2022
Russia has positioned up to 190,000 troops close to Ukraine’s borders, according to US officials.
As BBC previously reported, They include about 30,000 troops taking part in military exercises in Belarus, and are equipped with everything from tanks and artillery to air power and naval support.