Russia ‘paints invasion stripes on assault vehicles’ as soldiers mass at Ukraine border

Tom Ambrose
·2-min read
<p>A still image from video shows tanks and military vehicles in Maslovka, Voronezh Region, Russia</p> (REUTERS)

A still image from video shows tanks and military vehicles in Maslovka, Voronezh Region, Russia

(REUTERS)

Russian forces gathering at the border with Ukraine have reportedly started painting “invasion stripes” on their vehicles amid simmering tensions in the region.

Armoured BTR 80 vehicles painted with the markings were spotted heading in convoy to the railway station yesterday in Astrakhan, 350 miles from the frontline, according to the Mirror.

The markings has raised concerns among military experts, who say it is similar to the stripes on tanks used by the Soviet Army during the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. 

The stripes help identify vehicles to friendly forces, it is understood.

Russian president Vladimir Putin will soon have some 107,000 troops amassed on the border, the paper reported — far more than previously thought.

It is also believed that a huge number of weapons and war vehicles are moving towards the border.

Watch: US to announce new sanctions on Russia over cyber attack and election interference

Current estimates include 1,300 battle tanks, 3,700 drones, 1,300 artillery and mortar units and 380 multiple launch rocket systems.

Fears of fresh conflict come following the 2014 annexation of Crimea, with guerilla war fighting breaking out in eastern Ukraine involving pro-Russian separatists.

The fighting has seen 14,000 people killed to date.

Foreign secretary Dominic Raab said last month that the Nato alliance “must take a stand against both the military threat posed by Russia and Moscow’s destabilising activities around the world”.

The UK has urged Nato allies to ensure Putin’s government faces consequences for actions including state-backed cyber attacks and the spreading of disinformation about coronavirus.

At a session on Russia during a meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Brussels, Mr Raab backed a policy of offering a route to membership of the alliance for countries facing Russian aggression, such as Ukraine and Georgia.

Watch: Russia presents flagless Olympic uniforms for Tokyo 2020

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