Western governments see continuing Russian buildup on Ukraine border
By Mark Hosenball
Wed Mar 26, 2014
(Reuters) – U.S. and European security agencies estimate Russia has deployed military and militia units totaling more than 30,000 people along its border with eastern Ukraine, according to U.S. and European sources familiar with official reporting.
The current estimates represent what officials on both sides of the Atlantic describe as a continuing influx of Russian forces along the Ukraine frontier, the sources said.
The 30,000 figure represents a significant increase from a figure of 20,000 Russian troops along the border that was widely reported in U.S. and European media last week.
But U.S. and European security sources noted that these estimates are imprecise. Some estimates put current troop levels as high as 35,000 while others still suggest a level of 25,000, the sources said.
However, the sources said that U.S. and European government experts believe that there has been, and continues to be, a steady and noticeable buildup in the total number of Russian forces along the Ukrainian border, though some military units have rotated in or out of the area.
U.S. and European security sources said that the Russian force deployed along the Ukraine border includes regular military including infantry and armored units and some air support.