Putin Adds Military Capabilities in Belarus, Russian Border With Ukraine, Kirby Says

  • Published
  • By David Vergun
  • DOD News

Over the last couple of days, Russian President Vladimir Putin has added additional military capability along his border with Ukraine, as well as in the Belarus area that borders Ukraine, said Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby, who briefed the media today. 

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Among those added assets, he said, are combined arms capabilities that include: artillery; air and missile defense; landing craft in the Black Sea; infantry; armor; offensive air; special operations; logistics and sustainment; cyber; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. 

The United States is being very transparent with Kyiv about its intelligence assessments of those Russian forces, he said. 

"[Putin] continues to do the things that you would expect one to do if one were planning on a major military action, that is, to sharpen the readiness and to add to the capabilities of his force," Kirby said. 

"We obviously don't want that to be the outcome, and neither do Ukrainians and certainly neither do our NATO allies," he added. 

Russian Foreign Minister Sergeń≠ Lavrov seemed to indicate earlier today that he still thinks there's room for diplomacy, Kirby said. "We would welcome a pursuit of that path by the Russians, because we, too, believe that there still should be and can be a diplomatic path forward." 

Should Putin decide to invade, many Russian and Ukrainian lives would be lost, Kirby said. Russia can deescalate immediately and take a diplomatic path forward. "It's within Mr. Putin's power to make the right decision now. And obviously, we hope to see him do that."