Russia claims that maneuvers done, troops leaving Crimea
Russia’s defense ministry announced on Feb. 16 that units in Crimea which had completed their exercises were returning to their bases. The announcement on the ministry’s website was accompanied by a photo of military vehicles on the Kerch Strait bridge.
The announcement comes after Russia had announced the withdrawal of some troops. However, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated on Feb. 16 that no reduction in troop levels had been detected, and that Russia was, on the contrary, still building up troop levels, Bloomberg reports.
James Hydzik: The Ukrainian border has been under 24-hour surveillance by drones and crewed aircraft. Given that our base case for a military incursion is closer to Donbas, removing the troops from Crimea and bringing them into reserve for a mainland push while attempting a PR coup is as likely as a return to base.