Russia continues to build up its military forces along the border of Ukraine, and sent many amphibious forces to the Black Sea to start maneuvers over the weekend. The Tass news agency reported that the first stage of the naval maneuvers is loading infantry forces and their equipment onto landing ships.
Several days ago, four large ships for landing military forces on beaches passed through the Bosporus Strait, and on the same day 15 ships belonging to the Caspian Sea fleet sailed into the Black Sea including three artillery boats, eight landing craft and four support vessels. They all sailed toward the port city of Sevastopol.
Russian sources told the Janes website that the Navy and Army maneuvers will continue until the third quarter of this year. Various areas of the Black Sea were closed to foreign ships from the 24th to the 31st of the month, according to a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry. Fifty aircraft from the air division of the Navy and the air division of the Black Sea fleet were mobilized for the exercise.
The Janes website reported that according to the Ukraine's Foreign Ministry the Russians already have close to 120,000 troops along the Ukrainian border. Satellite imagery shows large areas that were turned into staging areas. There is currently a large amount of military aircraft including Sukhoi Su-27 fighters, three types of attack helicopters and "Inokhodets" unmanned aircraft in the Crimean Peninsula.
An A-50-U early warning plane, used for command and control, also arrived in the area.