EXCLUSIVE: Russia Moves Blood Supplies Near Ukraine, Raising US Concerns


A satellite image shows tents and housing for Russian troops in Yelnya, Russia, January 19, 2022. ©2022 Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

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WASHINGTON, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine has expanded to include supplies of blood along with other medical materials that would allow it to treat victims, in another key indicator of Moscow’s military readiness, they told Reuters three US officials.

Current and former US officials say concrete indicators, such as blood supplies, are critical to determining whether Moscow would be prepared to carry out an invasion, should Russian President Vladimir Putin decide to do so.

The disclosure of the blood supplies by US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, adds another context to growing US warnings that Russia may be preparing for a new invasion of Ukraine as it amasses more than 100,000 troops. near its borders.

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These warnings have included President Joe Biden’s prediction that a Russian attack was likely and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s comments that Russia could launch a new attack on Ukraine with “very little time.” .

The Pentagon previously recognized the “medical support” deployment as part of Russia’s preparedness. But the disclosure of blood supplies adds a level of detail that experts say is critical to determining Russian military readiness.

“It doesn’t guarantee that there will be another attack, but you wouldn’t execute another attack unless you had it in hand,” said Ben Hodges, a retired US lieutenant general who now works at the Center for European Policy Analysis research institute.

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The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately respond to a written request for comment.

A White House spokesman did not immediately comment on any Russian movement of blood supplies, but pointed to repeated US public warnings about Russian military preparedness.

The Pentagon declined to discuss the intelligence assessments.

The three US officials who spoke about the blood supplies declined to say specifically when the US detected their movement into formations near Ukraine. However, two of them said it was in the last few weeks.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied any intention to invade. But Moscow says it feels threatened by Kiev’s growing ties to the West.

Eight years ago it seized Crimea and backed separatist forces that took control of much of eastern Ukraine.

Russia’s security demands, put forward in December, include ending further expansion of NATO, prohibiting Ukraine from joining and withdrawing forces and weaponry from the alliance of Eastern European countries that joined after the Cold War.

Putin said on Friday that the United States and NATO had not addressed Russia’s main security demands in their standoff over Ukraine, but that Moscow was willing to continue talking. read more

Biden has said he will not send US or allied troops to fight Russia in Ukraine, but he told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a phone call Thursday that Washington and its allies stand ready to respond decisively if Russia invades the former Soviet state. the White House said. .

The United States and its allies have said Russia will face tough economic sanctions if it attacks Ukraine.

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Western countries have already imposed repeated rounds of economic sanctions since Russian troops seized and annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.

But such moves have had little impact on Russian politics, with Moscow, Europe’s main energy supplier, calculating that the West would not take steps serious enough to interfere with gas exports.

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Information from Phil Stewart; additional reporting by Tom Balmforth in Moscow; Edited by Mary Milliken and Alistair Bell

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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