US Fears Russia Has Invasion Force Ready

Troops near Ukrainian border are concealing their positions

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 28, 2014 4:51 AM CDT | Updated Mar 28, 2014 7:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – Is Russia planning to follow up its annexation of Crimea with an invasion of eastern Ukraine? American officials say they're not sure what Vladimir Putin's next move will be, but Moscow appears to have everything in place for a potential long-term deployment, the Wall Street Journal finds. At least 50,000 Russian troops are now in position in Crimea and along the Ukrainian border, and they appear to be concealing their positions, trying to cloak their equipment, and establishing supply lines. Russia says the deployments are merely a military exercise, but Obama today told CBS News, "These are not what Russia would normally be doing." A Pentagon rep echoed that sentiment, per Reuters: "We've seen no specific indications that these, that exercises, are taking place."

"It may simply be an effort to intimidate Ukraine or it may be that they've got additional plans," Obama continued, advising Russia to "move back those troops and to begin negotiations directly with the Ukrainian government, as well as the international community." The United Nations General Assembly, meanwhile, approved a resolution yesterday declaring Crimea's vote to secede from Ukraine invalid, CNN reports. The resolution passed by a vote of 100-11, with 58 countries abstaining. Fox News reports the United Nations Security Council will meet privately today to discuss the situation.

A man walks past a sign marking the border painted in colors of a Russian flag and reading Have a good trip in the village of Vyselki, eastern Ukraine.
A man walks past a sign marking the border painted in colors of a Russian flag and reading "Have a good trip" in the village of Vyselki, eastern Ukraine.   (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
A Ukrainian border guard, right, and Russian border guards, background, stand at the border crossing between Ukraine and Russia in the village of Vyselki, eastern Ukraine.
A Ukrainian border guard, right, and Russian border guards, background, stand at the border crossing between Ukraine and Russia in the village of Vyselki, eastern Ukraine.   (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)
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