Russia Moves Air Defences Close to Ukraine Borders - Reports

Amid rising tensions between Moscow and NATO, British sources have warned that Russia is moving growing numbers of air defence systems near its borders with Ukraine. The appearance of a Russian Buk-M1 medium range air defence battalion was cited as a signal of possible aggressive intent by Moscow, although the system is hardly state of the art within the country’s arsenal. It would, however, have the mobility needed to accompany ground forces on an offensive and uses a tracked launch vehicle allowing it to follow armoured formations through rough terrain. Russia has concentrated its most advanced air defence systems in the region in Crimea, which NATO, Ukraine and the United Nations consider to be Ukrainian territory but which has been integrated into the Russian Federation since 2014. Reports of the deployment of the BuK-M1 came as Russian President Vladimir Putin likened the Ukrainian government’s policies towards Russian minorities to genocide, and slammed the expansion of NATO forces in Eastern Europe and the alliance's possible deployment of nuclear weapons and long range missiles to the region. The BuK-M1 alone, however, is far from a significant enough asset to signal plans for an offensive even if deployed at battalion strength.

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