Continuing Signs of Possible Russian Military Move Into E. Ukraine
Kiev’s Delo claims that last night at 1 am local time the Ukrainian Security Services detained a “reconnaissance group” of the Russian armed forces near Perekop. Perekop is outside the Crimea, in Kherson, just north of the Arabatskaia spit. The newspaper claims that the leader of the group was carrying a fake Ukrainian passport, and that the reconnaissance was aimed at anti-aircraft rocket units and a motorized brigade stationed in southern Kherson province (including around the city of Kakhovka).
This fits with the picture emerging of Russian military preparations to break out of Crimea to the north. The picture is painted by Ukrainian sources, which suggests it needs to be viewed with some skepticism. But put together with Putin’s conversation with Angel Merkel, in which he expressed “concern over tensions in south and southeast Ukraine” it does suggest that the Russians are at a minimum preparing an incursion into east Ukraine beyond the Crime as a contingency plan. I still expect such an incursion fairly soon.