Last April, the Russian armed forces had deployed in two months time more than 100.000 men along the Ukrainian borders, creating significant regional tensions. But in the absence of certain observations, such as the massive assembly of Inter-arms Tactical Battalion, the combat format of the Russian units comparable to the French Inter-arms Tactical Group, sufficient stocks of ammunition and fuel, the pre-positioning of support forces such as field hospitals, this show of force did not allow the Kremlin to convince Westerners of the reality of the threat. However, this deployment of forces did not lead to significant changes in defensive postures in Europe and within NATO, the latter still considering that if Russia could engage in this type of maneuver, it could not assemble and implement a significant combat force over time to, for example, seize important territories.
It only took 6 months for the Russian Armies to demonstrate to European planners the full extent of their error. While from November to December 2021, the Russian armies deployed an armed force substantially similar to that deployed in the Spring, they undertook, from the beginning of January, to considerably strengthen their own system, both qualitatively and quantitatively. Today, according to US information transmitted to the OSCE, between 170.000 and 190.000 Russian soldiers are deployed along the Ukrainian borders, forming 115 to 120 Combined Arms Tactical Battalions aligning at least 1.200 combat tanks, supported by some 500 fighter planes, 50 bombers and 40 warships sailing in the Black Sea, and protected by no less than 35 of the 50 anti-aircraft brigades in the Russian arsenal. In addition, all support and operating forces are in place, such as crossing units, special forces units, and advanced medical units.
In fact, if at the start of the crisis in November 2021, a majority of the most recognized experts on the public scene remained cautious and circumspect as to the real objectives of the Kremlin, they overwhelmingly sided with the hypothesis of a military offensive against Ukraine goes far beyond the borders of the Donbass, with increasingly marked similarities with the sequence of events that preceded the Russo-Georgian war of 2008. However, whatever the outcome of this crisis, the deployment of force Russia carried out by the Kremlin will have very profoundly changed all the security paradigms in Europe but also in the world, calling on Europeans and Americans alike to radically revise their military doctrines and their own defense planning.
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