Russian Military Base Constructed Near Ukraine Indicates Preparation for Long-Term Conflict

Pro-Russian rebel military vehicles convoy move towards Donetsk , Eastern Ukraine, Monday, Nov. 10
Pro-Russian rebel military vehicles convoy move towards Donetsk , Eastern Ukraine, Monday, Nov. 10 / AP

Russia is building a large, heavily equipped military base near the Ukrainian border, which indicates Moscow is preparing for a long-term conflict with Kiev.

The Defense Ministry will install nine barracks that hold 3,500 soldiers and ammunition depots for rockets and artillery weapons that span 6,000 square meters, according to Reuters. The site will be used to train Russian soldiers on air and land defense, including the operation of tanks and armored personnel carriers.

The base will also include a site for the study of U.S. Army tactics. Russian government documents call the U.S. a "likely enemy" and write that the base will be equipped to simulate U.S. Army standards, "with models of personnel and military equipment."

The 740-acre site will feature a residential complex with more than 1,000 apartments, a dining room for 2,000 soldiers, a swimming pool, tennis courts, a skating rink, and a barbershop. It will also include a training complex and an expandable infirmary in case of a "massive influx of [the] wounded."

Residents of Soloti, a village in western Russia, told Reuters that the base is located near their town. The site is close to a railway that connects Moscow to cities in eastern Ukraine, including Luhansk, which has faced hundreds of casualties due to the crisis.

A man who claimed he was a representative of the Federal Agency for Special Construction would not discuss the details of the base with Reuters, stating that it was "a secret facility."

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine, despite reports of Russian soldiers and weapons in the region.

The first phase of construction is to be complete by April 29, 2016.