Brief analysis: How did Russia gather massive troops before attacking Ukraine?

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The Washington Post has reported that Russia has moved troops close to the Ukrainian border since the end of 2021, but no one would have expected that a special Russian military operation would take place right after 3 months.

Long before Russia launched a special military operation, The Washington Post of the United States had provided a lot of evidence that Moscow will soon launch a large-scale operation, with the participation of at least 175,000 soldiers. 

Intelligence based on analysis of satellite images “shows that a series of Russian military units have gathered at various locations along the Ukrainian border in the last months of 2021.

The Washington Post said the information was confirmed by an unnamed senior defense official of the Unite state of America. An intelligence document obtained by The Post showed Russian troops assembling at four locations.

According to this document, 50 military groups have gathered in four areas, along with a series of tanks and military equipment. The last data collected in the log was on 11/26/2021, the data after that was not updated.

Although the Ukrainian side estimated that Russia had about 94,000 troops near the border, the US side gave a map of about 70,000, but then it put the actual number at 175,000 and said Russian companies are constantly moving in and out of the border area in order to “hide the true purpose and disguise the hesitation.”

Four Russian locations "converged" before the start of the special military operation
Four Russian locations “converged” before the start of the special military operation

A representative of the US administration expressed concern about Russian troops in these areas, because they may be adding up to 100,000 troops to the 70,000 troops currently in Ukraine.

“Russia will probably attack Ukraine as early as early 2022 with twice the number of troops last spring, at a time when the country is holding exercises near the border with Ukraine,” the Washington Post quoted an unnamed source as saying. This information appeared in the US press from the end of 2021 – more than 2 months before Russia launched a special military operation.

The Washington Post also reported that the Russian side deliberately moved troops close to the Ukrainian border, this move of Russia was a warning to the US about Ukraine’s desire to join NATO. In addition, the alliance also had to institute a temporary halt to some military aid operations in and around Ukraine.

However, the Russian army moved with very high intensity, constantly approaching and leaving the border area with Ukraine, confusing both Kyiv and the West, not really understanding Moscow’s intentions at that time. 
Satellite images show advanced Russian military deployments in Belarus
Satellite images show advanced Russian military deployments in Belarus

During this time, even Mr. Putin asked the US to ensure that NATO withdraws its decision to accept Ukraine and Georgia’s accession, as well as limit military activities on the Russian border, especially around Russia and Ukraine.

All of the above moves, which can be considered as “blinding” blows of Moscow, made both Kyiv and the West, unable to imagine that Russia would launch such a large-scale military operation right in early 2022.
Russian Su-34 bomber linup near Ukraine border before attack on Ukraine
Russian Su-34 bomber linup near Ukraine border before attack on Ukraine
However, many experts also believe that Moscow has made great efforts when it wants to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO through negotiations and political pressure. However, when diplomatic measures proved ineffective, Russia was forced to launch a special military operation as a “last resort”.

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