Satellite images released Thursday show new military deployments in Crimea, Belarus and western Russia near Ukraine amid growing concern that Russia could try to invade its neighbor.
Maxar Technologies released the images, which were taken Wednesday and Thursday.
Several show more than 500 troop tents and hundreds of vehicles at Oktyabrskoye airfield, an abandoned airfield north of Simferopol, the second largest city on the Crimean peninsula. Additional images show artillery deployments and training activity, as well as a new deployment in Slavne, also on the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Military vehicles and helicopters were also identified at an airfield near Gomel, Belarus, about 15 miles from the border with Ukraine. Troops are also deployed near Rechitsa, Belarus, which is about 28 miles from the borer with Ukraine.
Additional equipment has arrived at the Kursk training area in western Russia since Maxar first released images of that site in December.
There is growing concern surrounding Russia’s military movements near Ukraine. The head of Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency told Military Times in November that Russia was preparing for an attack, but Russia has repeatedly denied allegations it is planning an invasion.
Russia requested that NATO would not extend membership to Ukraine or other ex-Soviet nations, which was rejected by Washington and its allies. Russian President Vladimir Putin continued diplomatic talks this week in France, where French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters Putin told him Moscow would not further escalate the Ukraine crisis.
U.S. troops are already beginning to arrive in Poland on President Joe Biden’s orders to deploy American forces to NATO allies in Germany, Poland and Romania. It is not clear how long the troops will be stationed there.
An additional 8,500 troops are on heightened alert for possible deployment, but Biden promised American troops will not be deployed to Ukraine if Russia invades.