10 April, 20:13

NATO's images of Russian troops allegedly deployed on Ukrainian borders were taken in August 2013 - Russian Military

NATO's images of Russian troops allegedly deployed on Ukrainian borders were taken in August 2013 - Russian Military

An official in the Russian military general staff said on Thursday that NATO satellite photographs purporting to show Russian forces concentrated near the Ukrainian border were taken in August 2013, state-run news agency RIA reported, citing a source in Russian military forces.

The report came hours after NATO unveiled photographs it said showed Russian deployments of some 40,000 troops, along with tanks, armoured vehicles, artillery and aircraft. It said the pictures were taken between March 22 and April 2.

"Satellite imagery of Russian troops allegedly amassed at present on the border with Ukraine dates back to August 2013, a high-ranking source in Russia," General Staff said Thursday.

NATO's Headquarters of Allied Command Operations released earlier on Thursday a series of satellite photos showing large contingents of tanks, artillery, attack helicopters and war planes purportedly being observed by the Alliance in specific locations along the Ukrainian border.

"In reality, the images released by NATO show units of Russia's Southern Military District taking part in various exercises last summer, including near the borders with Ukraine," the source said.

The Southern Military District hosted a number of military drills last summer, including parts of large-scale Combat Commonwealth-2013 air defense exercise, which involved units from a joint air defense system of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

NATO builds its naval presence in the Black Sea - Russian Defense Ministry

NATO is actively building its naval presence in the Black Sea in view of sharp aggravation of the Ukraine crisis, a Russian Defence Ministry source told the Russian news agency TASS on Thursday.

"Destroyer USS Donald Cook equipped with the Aegis combat missile defense system has just entered the Black Sea. According to our information, it is going to be joined by French reconnaissance ship Dupuy de Lome by April 11. French Navy’s destroyer Dupleix is expected to enter the Black Sea on April 14," the source went on to say.

"Considering the presence of the French Navy’s rescue vessel Alize in the south-eastern part of the Black Sea since late March, we can say that NATO is building a naval grouping in the Black Sea in the vicinity of the Russian border for the first time since 2008," the Russian Defence Ministry source said.

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