With Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk abroad gathering support for his imperiled government, Russian President Vladimir Putin amassed more than 80,000 troops, 270 tanks and 140 war planes on Russia’s borders with Ukraine.
Some of the units are within a three-hour reach of the capital, Kiev, The Associated Press reports.
After earlier denials, The New York Times reports that on Thursday, Russian military leaders admitted they were launching “significant operations involving armored and airborne troops in the Belgorod, Kursk and Rostov regions abutting eastern Ukraine.”
Amateur photographs of the troop build up can be seen here, the Times reports.
Tomorrow, Friday, March 14, will mark the two week anniversary of Russia’s Friday, Feb. 28 invasion of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
In an interview with NPR just before the Feb. 28 invasion, former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s great granddaughter, Nina Krushcheva, said “I don’t want to predict because i don’t want to end up with an egg on my face, but… in my experience, when Russians start speaking this way, they actually send those tanks… when Russians start threatening tanks, the tanks are not far behind.”
“It can get ugly fast if the wrong choices are made, and it can get ugly in multiple directions,” Secretary of State John Kerry told a House committee considering sanctions on Wednesday.
At time of publication, the Dow Jones Industrial Average stock market has dropped over 150 points since opening.