There is talk again about the possible advent of World War 3 as tension mounts on the border of Crimea and Ukraine. Russia not only appears to be increasing its military activity in Crimea but also seems to be bolstering its amount of materiel in the region, according to reports. While Ukrainian officials noted that there had been a call for military exercises along the border with Crimea, a human rights group captured footage of a train loaded with Russian tanks headed for the tense area. And as wary eyes watch the developing situation, many undoubtedly worry whether or not the tenuous Minsk treaty will hold or if something will set off a chain of events that could lead to an all-our war, perhaps even escalating into World War 3.
Newsweek reported on August 8 that it was announced on Ukrainian television channel 112 that Ukraine's Deputy Minister on Crimean Affairs, Georgiy Tuka, revealed that the Russian government in Crimea was calling for "military exercises, conducted on along the borderline of demarcation." Tuna also stated that "in order not to put the civilian population in danger, the border crossings have been frozen."
It was reported that two of three official crossings between Ukraine and Crimea had been closed, one remaining operational at the time Newsweek ran its story. The border service press secretary Oleh Slobodan, who spoke concerning the crossings, also revealed that officials at the border reported that at least nine flybys were conducted by Russian helicopters. Two drones were also spotted.
News of the military exercises and border closings came as reports of fighting in northern Crimea, including the death of a Russian soldier, filtered in. At the same time, human rights activist organization Crimean Human Rights Group posted footage online purported to be of a massive movement of Russian military materiel into Crimea over the weekend. There was also a photo posted to Gazeta, according to Daily Star, that is said to be proof of Russia moving military vehicles into the region via railway. Another Daily Star report contained the video of a train loaded with Russian tanks also said to headed into Crimea.
Open fighting between Russian-backed separatists and Ukrainian troops have also continued in the past few weeks, with Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, commenting that Russia was "seriously concerned" about the growing violence in the Donbas region of Ukraine, which borders both Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, and Russia proper. According to Lavrov, the actions constitute an abrogation of the peace accords signed in Minsk, Belarus.
"We are, of course, seriously concerned about what is happening in the Donbas," Lavrov said at press conference in Baku, Azerbaijan, according to Bloomberg. "The current wave of verbal and practical military activity is, of course, contrary to the spirit and letter of the Paris agreements and the Minsk accords."
For those fearful of a full-fledged war that could possibly, eventually, lead to World War 3, the Russian military build-up and announcement of more border exercises (Russia has conducted an unprecedented number of military exercises and drills in the past two years) are especially worrisome, considering that NATO has increased its military presence in eastern Europe as well. A 2015 Agence France-Presse report noted that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was bolstering its Response Force to more than double its size, effectively increasing its troop strength to 30,000 to 40,000.
But fears of a possible coming confrontation were ignited, as the Inquisitr reported last month, with the Atlantic Group study that warned that the Russian military's preparations and continuing exercises were the perfect cover for a lightning strike against eastern European targets like the Baltic States. It was noted that Russia could attack "overnight" and that there was little that NATO could do with such little warning. Such could be the beginning of an escalating conflict that could lead to a catastrophic World War 3...
As for the military movements in Crimea, they were not completely unexpected, given that Russia's Defense Minister, Sergey Shoigu, announced at the end of July that Russia was forming a new military task force to match the build-up of NATO troops along its European border. According to the Inquisitr, the defense minister emphasized military preparedness for the Crimean region.
Still, World War 3 is a distant threat at present. Even with the growth in hostilities in Donbas, as Bloomberg observed, Lavrov noted that Russia has agreed to the Ukrainian proposal of talks with France and Germany on the periphery of the Group of 20 meeting in Hangzhou, China, in September.
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