Russia is staging military forces in southern Ukraine, renewing concerns that they could be preparing for a new campaign in the war.
UK Defense Intelligence released an intelligence report stating that Russian forces were “certainly amassing” in Southern Ukraine. The report also indicated that fighting may now shift from the Donbas region in Eastern Ukraine to the area between the Mykolaiv Oblast and the Crimean Peninsula, in the South.
The report also said Russian forces are almost certainly massing in the south in anticipation of Ukraine’s counter-offensive or in preparation for a possible assault”.
The report went on to describe “long convoys of Russian military trucks, tanks, towed artillery and other weapons continue to move away from Ukraine’s Donbas region and are headed southwest. Equipment was also reported to be moving from Russian-occupied Melitopol, Berdiansk, Mariupol and from mainland Russia via the Kerch Bridge into Crimea”.
“Battalion tactical groups (BTG), which compromise between 800 and 1,000 troops, have been deployed to Crimea and would almost certainly be used to support Russian troops in the Kherson region” the report added.
Overnight shelling took place in Ukraine’s fourth-largest city Dnipropetrovsk. The Kyiv Independent reported that residences and a kindergarten were hit as a result of the attack.
In other developments, Ukranian officials are accusing pro-Russian forces of using humanitarian aid to lure people into a referendum on whether they want to join Russia.