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Russia is pulling armored groups close to the border with Ukraine. This is important (VIDEO)

On September 19, videos appeared on-line shot by motorists with their DVRs near the village of Rodionovka in Rostov Oblast of the Russian Federation [Update [1]]. A large convoy of tanks and armored personnel carriers of the Russian army was spotted moving along the highway only 30 km from the state border with Ukraine. The video is not very clear, but InformNapalm volunteers could identify some modifications of military equipment: modified T-72B3 and T-72B3M main battle tanks, BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles, 2S3 Akatsiya self-propelled howitzers and artillery fire control vehicles.

Тим часом Росія починає грати мускулами. Це відео було відзняте сьогодні біля Родіоновки в Ростовській області РФ. І воно свідчить, що Кремль навіть не приховує того, що підтягує війська до наших кордонів. Робиться це або для підсилення проросійських військ "ДЛНР" на окупованій українській території, або для збільшення концентрації російських військ на державному кордоні. Так чи інакше, це – психологічний тиск на нового Президента України Володимира Зеленського в канун зустрічі "нормандської четвірки". Лякають ескалацією…До уваги української розвідки!

Posted by Громадсько-політичний рух ''Межа'' [2] on Thursday, September 19, 2019

Spot on GoogleMaps [3].

According to InformNapalm analysts, this could signal that Russian troops are preparing for an offensive operation. The implications could be especially grave given the nervous reaction [7] of Boris Gryzlov, the Russian envoy in the Donbas trilateral contact group, who claimed that negotiations of the Normandy Four were put under threat, as Ukraine refused to sign the “Steinmeier formula”, which its representatives had allegedly previously agreed to. It is worth mentioning that this formula actually grants Moscow’s objective to consolidate the special status of Donbas without security guarantees and create a buffer zone, which would effectively mean capitulation for Ukraine.

Meanwhile, preparations are being made for the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops along the entire contact line in Donbas. The Ukrainian side hopes for a de-escalation and a “mirror withdrawal”, which was discussed by the commander of the Ukrainian Joint Forces Volodymyr Kravchenko at a meeting with Osnat Lubrani, the UN coordinator in Ukraine. However, we see the contrary signs with Russian troops pulling their armored groups closer to the border.

Conclusions

The deliberate and open movement of Russian armored task groups to the border is an apparent sign of psychological pressure on the leadership of Ukraine to bend Ukraine towards defeatist agreements within the “Steinmeier formula”. It also worth noting that the Russian hybrid occupation forces in Donbas have a sufficient military hardware assets to escalate the hostilities. We call on the international community to respond to Russia’s aggressive actions and signals and, as a deterrent, increase political and economic pressure on the aggressor.

Background information

Steinmeier formula [8] is a method of implementing the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements proposed by, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who is widely viewed as a pro-Russian influence in the German politics. The essence of the formula consists in immediate granting of temporary special status to the occupied areas of Donbas which are currently not controlled by Ukraine, holding local elections, and then after a report by the OSCE on the outcome of the elections, granting a permanent special status to these territories.

Details and implications of the Steinmeier formula for Ukraine

Members of Ukrainian civil society – volunteers, Donbas war veterans, activists, public and political figures have sharply criticized the perspectives of adopting this “formula” as leading to the surrender of Ukraine. On September 17, they signed an appeal [9] to the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky outlining the “red lines” in the domestic and foreign policy that the authorities should not cross.

On September 19, a protest rally [10] was held in Kyiv with the participants demanding not to sign any “formulas of surrender” for Ukraine. Main slogans of the protest read: “Schwein-Putin formula”, “Crimea and Donbas must return together”, “Normandy conspiracy is high treason”.

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