Reuters journalists have witnessed a massing of Russian military materiel 50 kilometers from the border of Ukraine. Several shipments of Uragan multiple-rocket launchers, tanks, and self-propelled howitzers were seen arriving at the Kuzminsky firing range, just outside Luhansk province in Ukraine, with reporters estimating that the stock of equipment present was about three times greater than it had been in March at the same site.
Ominously, given Russia’s “little green men” modus operandi in previous invasions, much of the equipment had its identification marks removed, and many of the soldiers had no insignia on their fatigues. When asked by journalists whether the presence of unmarked men and materiel meant that Russia was readying an invasion, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov replied, “I find the wording of this question, ‘if an invasion is being prepared’, inappropriate as such.”
Relatedly, the Atlantic Council is due to release a report today that makes extensive use of social media reports and open sources to paint what some say is a definitive picture of Russian involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. “The way Russian propaganda works, it makes it seem you can’t possibly know the truth,” a researcher on the project said. “If you try to counter it by doing the same thing, you are just adding to the noise. But you can get to the truth by pointing to the open source data and what’s publicly available.”