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Build Up of Russian Troops on Ukraine Border Revealed By Satellite Images

Biden and Putin are scheduled to discuss the growing tension on Dec. 7

New images show Russia has increased its military presence along its border with Ukraine over the last month.

Satellite images show three housing camps with an estimated three battalions 100 and 150 miles from the border.

Tanks and artillery pieces have also been documented in recent weeks in Russian-occupied Crimea, about 80 miles from the border.

Crimea went under Russian control when the nation seized the region from Ukrainian forces in 2014. The conflict left 13,000 dead. Russia has maintained that the region willingly joined following a referendum.

On Nov. 3, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry previously has estimated 90,000 troops had been assembled. In total, there are now 50 Russian battalions at the border with more being assembled every day. 

The images in a leak from U.S. intelligence indicate that, by early next year, Putin will be ready to launch an invasion using up to 175,000 soldiers.

President Biden is scheduled to talk to President Vladamir Putin on Tuesday via video call regarding the presence of troops along the border. The European Union and NATO have signaled their support for Biden, who has a tense history with the Russian leader.

In 2011, the pair met while Biden served as Barack Obama’s vice president. 

 “I don’t think you have a soul,” Biden reportedly said to the Russian president.

“We understand one another,” Putin reportedly said in response. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described U.S.-Russia relations as “lamentable” in a statement on Dec. 6. Russia wants a definitive and binding guarantee that Ukraine will not become a NATO member. 

Peskov said the call between the nation’s leaders will focus on long-term guarantees of Russia’s security from the West. He said that accusations that his country is planning on invading Ukraine are a “hollow and unfounded attempt to incite tensions.”

“Russia doesn’t threaten anyone,” Peskov added. “The movement of troops on our territory shouldn’t be a cause for anyone’s concern.”

China has become the focus of the American defense strategy in recent years, leading to changes in the dynamic governing the relationship between European nations and Russia.

“For years, Washington has been pivoting its attention away from Russia and the Middle East and towards the Pacific — withdrawing troops from Syria and Afghanistan and pressuring NATO allies to take on a greater share of the joint [defense] budget, while forging new alliances with Australia, India and Japan as it sounds the alarm over China’s presence in the South China Sea and around Taiwan,” reports The Daily Mail.

Several Cold War-era defense treaties which stabilized security in Europe were allowed to lapse because the U.S. government insisted China be included in any new agreements — an effort to prevent Beijing from developing weapons. 

Following the publication of the satellite images, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, “I hope the whole world can now clearly see who really wants peace and who is concentrating nearly 100,000 soldiers at our border.”

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