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What is behind Russia's build-up of troops behind the Ukrainian border?

DW, 30 Nov 2021
"We're the ones that keep other people awake at night": That's the impact US Marine Corps Brigadier General Simon Doran hopes this massive show of NATO power has on Russian military planners plotting their next moves.

Doran is the senior American representative serving with the UK's Carrier Strike Group 21 (CSG21), the largest fifth-generation carrier air wing in the world. It's on its way back to Portsmouth, England after completing a seven-month voyage of some 40,000 nautical miles to the Indo-Pacific, where along the way forces linked to the deployment took part in strikes against "Islamic State," tracked Chinese submarines and carried out exercises in the Black Sea. And, Doran emphasized, CSG21 is ready for duty anywhere.

After that came the Minsk-facilitated — and, many insist, Moscow-backed — flow of migrants over Belarus' borders with NATO allies Latvia, Lithuania and especially Poland. The West has accused Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko of using the migrants in an attempt to destabilize the European Union.

Polish President Andrzej Duda has said the Belarus border issue and the Ukraine buildup cannot be seen separately. Duda visited NATO headquarters last week to ask for "strengthening of the air policing mission…strengthening of observation, surveillance and strengthening of the readiness of NATO units along the eastern flank of the alliance."

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