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Russia Mobilises Forces Around Suspicious Ammo Depot Explosions

J.J. Patrick photo
J.J. PatrickUkraine
Russia Mobilises Forces Around Suspicious Ammo Depot Explosions
Ukraine believes one of world's largest stockpiles of defensive missiles was blown up by saboteurs

Ukranian emergency services say explosions occurred at a military base near Kalynivka, 168 miles west of Kiev.

More than 30,000 people have been evacuated and utilities are down. Miraculously, only one person has been officially reported as injured.

“Russia activated several units right before this explosion and at least the 22nd spetznatz brigade was activated immediately after this."

Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman stated "external factors" caused the blasts and Olena Gitlyanska, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Security Service, has confirmed they are treating the incident as sabotage.

I spoke with Petri Mäkelä, an engineer in Ukraine who is also a prominent freelance writer with a military and security policy focus, and a military reservist. He monitors Russian incursions in the region.

“This is the third ammo dump fire in Ukraine recently,” Mäkelä told me. “All have been active facilities that are storing relevant and modern munitions and all have been feeding the UA units defending against Russian aggression.”

Assessing the Prime Minister and security service statements, Mäkelä said: “While no proof of sabotage has been presented in the light of SBU chiefs statements that Russian intelligence services are conducting a sabotage and terror campaign within Ukraine, it's highly likely that there is foul play here.”

He points to troop movements which have been publicly reported, telling me: “Russia activated several units right before this explosion and at least the 22nd spetznatz brigade was activated immediately after this. 22nd has been active in clandestine ops since the Soviet era and it's a unit likely to operate in Donbass.”

“Another noteworthy unit was a battalion of the 42nd motor rifle division from Checheniya,” he added.

Chechen formations have been used both in Donbass and in Syria.

“Also most helicopter formations in the region are currently conducting night ops training. There is no real invasion force in place, but many elements that could be used to escalate the situation in Donbass,” Mäkelä concluded.

"Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman stated "external factors" caused the blasts and Olena Gitlyanska, spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Security Service, has confirmed they are treating the incident as sabotage."

Tensions in the region have been escalating in the wake of Russia's hybrid offensive against the UK, US, and EU countries, prompting the acceleration of deeper relations between the EU and NATO.

Yesterday, French President Emmanuel Macron outlined the pressing need for an EU rapid response force to be in place by 2020.

#Ukraine, #Russia, #EU, #Macron, #Ammo-dump, #Explosion, #22nd Spetznatz

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