The United States now believes Russia has up to 190,000 troops in or near Ukraine, nearly twice as many as in January, according to a Review Michael Carpenter, US ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, announced Friday.
That’s significantly higher than the 150,000 troops President Biden mentioned earlier this week and the 100,000 in January.
However, US officials say the new figure includes a number of previously unaccounted for forces – most notably Russian forces in Crimea, as well as separatist forces led by Russian military officers. in the Donbas region, a part of eastern Ukraine that they have controlled since 2014. The officials did not provide details about these forces.
The new figure also includes some additional forces that have moved to Belarus, according to US intelligence officials. And combat forces have increased, according to a defense official. There are now between 120 and 125 tactical battalions, up from 83 previously in February.
Counting Russian forces is an inexact science. The size of Russian battalions can vary, depending on their role. In recent weeks, officials said, while Russia has made it less difficult to conceal troop movements, moving units during the day rather than at night, the United States has failed to detect it. out all Russian combat preparations.
According to outside analysts, Russia has also blocked a number of Russian rail traffic monitoring vehicles, which are used to tally forces to and from the Ukrainian border.
As many as 75,000 Russian forces outside Ukraine are in combat formation, ready to launch a full-scale invasion within the next day, a US defense official said.
American and allied officials were divided over whether Russia intended the invasion to occupy large swaths of the country or simply wanted to consolidate its control in the Donbas region. However, the defense official said that within the Russian forces outside Ukraine’s borders are reserve units, the type of force whose task is not to occupy new territory but to conduct occupation operations. And even as Russia has demonstrated the withdrawal of some forces, it has pushed others closer to the border.
Thomas Bullock, senior open source intelligence analyst at Jane’s, said Russia has moved air defense systems, long-range artillery and ground troops to locations about 18 kilometers from the Ukrainian border in recent days. here, especially in the area where the borders of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia converge.
“It’s very hard to hide at this stage because the world is watching and they’re shipping a lot of equipment in,” Mr. Bullock said.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/20/world/europe/counting-russian-troops-is-an-imprecise-science.html Counting Russian troops is an inexact science.