New satellite imagery from Maksar shows a significant increase in the deployment of Russian helicopter forces near the Ukrainian border.
Maksar estimated that a new helicopter unit and the deployment of a battle group consisting of tanks, armored personnel carriers and support equipment had been deployed at the Milerovo airport, located 16 kilometers from the border with Ukraine.
Melerovo is close to the part of the Ukrainian border controlled by pro-Russian separatists in the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic.
A little further north, Maxar said a new helicopter unit (more than 20 helicopters) has been deployed near Valwicki, about 27 kilometers east of the border with Ukraine.
As we saw in the previous photo package, there are still approximately 20 helicopters deployed near Belgorod, about 35 kilometers east of the border with Ukraine.
Videos uploaded to social media, examined by CNN, show attack helicopters at both airports near Valuyski and Belgorod, Russia.
In Crimea, there are now 70 helicopters, more than 60 that were first spotted earlier this week, at an abandoned air base in Lake Donozlav on the Black Sea coast still in place.
The increase comes despite a statement earlier this week by the Russian Defense Ministry saying that some military units would be moved away from Ukraine and back to their original bases. Russia even posted videos of trains transporting a number of tanks as evidence that it was following through on its statement.
Last week, a batch of satellite images and videos on social media showed advanced Russian tanks, howitzers and ballistic missiles moving toward the Ukrainian border, particularly to the north and northeast.
Satellite images earlier this week showed troops, military vehicles and helicopters at Zyabrovka airport near the Belarus city of Gomel, about 25 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.
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