Newly released drone footage appears to show a large military buildup at a Russian base inside Ukraine.
Dnipro-1, a pro-government volunteer regiment in Ukraine, released two sets of drone footage on Tuesday that was filmed two weeks apart. Over the two-week span, construction at the Russian base accelerated, the Daily Beast reports:
When Dnipro-1 first flew over the area on May 20, they filmed around 70 troops, several trucks and engineering vehicles and construction equipment. At least two T-72 tanks and a communications vehicle can also be seen.
Only 15 days later, on June 4, the regiment carried out another drone flight. Russian military engineers had moved fast, constructing a large base, complete with new roads, a parade square, and trenches covering an area of around a hectare. The roads are even lined with reflective markers.
We can now see at least nine T-72 tanks, one of which is equipped with mine-clearing gear, and several fuel bowsers, some of which are parked in protective dugouts. At least one communications vehicle and an anti-tank gun can also be seen. Tents for accommodation, meetings, and cooking are laid out across the camp. Structures have been erected to mask some of the tanks from being seen from ground level and the whole complex is sheltered by woods.
The buildup at the base might be intended to help Russian-backed separatists launch a new assault on Mariupol, a key port in eastern Ukraine.
Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that the drone video "further demonstrates that the ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine is fiction":
Two weeks ago, I traveled to eastern Ukraine and visited with the Dnipro-1 volunteer regiment, where I was shown and briefed on new video footage captured by a Ukrainian drone, which shows Russia’s continued buildup of tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers, and military personnel inside Ukraine. This new evidence, now public, further demonstrates that the ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine is fiction, and that Russia is deepening its military involvement in Ukraine.
Standing idly by and ignoring the mounting evidence of Russia’s duplicitous war on Ukraine signals weakness, potentially inviting the very aggression we seek to avoid. The United States must take immediate steps to deter Russia by increasing the military costs of its aggression, starting with the provision of the defensive weapons and other assistance the Ukrainians desperately need. Vladimir Putin must be forced to determine how long he can sustain a war he tells his people is not happening.