All CISAC News Commentary December 9, 2021

Is Russia preparing for war?

As Russia builds up forces near Ukraine, it continues to insist its troops are there simply to conduct military exercises. While exercises are routine, they have also historically been used by Russia and others to prepare for war and to cover up plans for surprise attacks.
photo of a tank
Georgiy Datsenko / EyeEm / Getty Images

Approximately 100,000 Russian troops housed in rows upon rows of barracks have amassed near the Russia-Ukraine border. Moscow claims they are there to conduct routine military exercises. And they have. Amidst political crisis in Belarus this fall, for example, up to 200,000 Russian and Belarusian forces participated in the Zapad 2021 exercise series.

Yet many observers worry these exercises are largely a pretense, and the soldiers’ stay may be more permanent. US military intelligence reported Russia may be preparing as many as 175,000 troops for offensive operations into Ukrainian territory.

Read the rest at Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.