Russia fears soar: Putins invasion exposed by satellite showing bridge built in Belarus

Russian UN official slams western ‘hysteria’ over Ukraine invasion

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Images shared by a private satellite company reveal new Russian activity at multiple locations near Ukraine, sparking fears of an imminent attack. US firm Maxar Technologies announced on Tuesday that it observed significant activity in Belarus, Crimea and western Russia. This included large build-ups of troop and attack helicopters, along with new deployments of ground attack aircraft and fighter-bomber jets.

One image reportedly shows a new bridge which had been built over the Pripyat River, less than four miles from the Belarus-Ukraine border.

But, Sky News reports that it is not possible to tell whether the bridge had been put up simply as part of a training exercise.

According to US analyst Michael Kofman, Director of Russia Studies at US security company CNA, there also appears to be a new field hospital being built in Belarus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also acknowledged the field hospital in Belarus, following an emergency meeting he held with Cobra.

Mr Johnson noted that this buildup could only be “construed as preparation for an invasion”.

This comes amidst news that Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly sent as many as 7,000 more troops to its border with Ukraine despite previously claiming it was withdrawing its forces.

A US official has said Russia’s claims are “false” and that in fact, it is increasing its military presence in the area.

The official said: “So yesterday, the Russian government said it was withdrawing troops from the border with Ukraine.

“They received a lot of attention for that claim, both here and around the world.

“But we now know it was false.”

Many of these troops arrived in the last 24 hours and British defence intelligence chief Lieutenant General Sir Jim Hockenhull said that more Russian armoured vehicles, helicopters and a field hospital have been seen in the area.

A statement from Maxar technologies read: “Significant new activity includes the arrival of several large deployments of troop and attack helicopters, new deployments of ground attack aircraft and fighter-bomber jets to forward locations, the departure of multiple ground forces units from existing garrisons along with other combat units seen in convoy formation.”

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Maxar found that Moscow had deployed troops, military vehicles and helicopters at the Zyabrovka airfield near the city of Gomel in Belarus, around 15 miles from the Ukrainian border.

In another set of photos, Maxar revealed another battle group park in Yelnya, Russia.

On January 19, the parking lot was full of military buildup, however, by Sunday those vehicles present had largely departed.

Mr Johnson accused Kremlin of sending “mixed signals” after stationing more troops closer to the border despite claiming to pull back.

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A video published by Russia on Wednesday appeared to show them pulling back from the border after taking part in military exercises in southern and western districts near Ukraine.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that moving troops did not amount to proof of a pullout.

He said: “This is the biggest concentration of forces in Europe since the Cold War.

“So far, we have not seen any de-escalation on the ground.

“On the contrary, it appears that Russia continues the military buildup.”

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