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Russia is moving its reserve forces to the Ukrainian border in what British intelligence officials warned Saturday was in preparation for future offensive operations.

The British Defense Ministry said intelligence suggests Russia is relying on MT-LB armored vehicles previously held in long-term storage facilities to transport an undetermined number of reservists to the shared border with Ukraine.

The strategy echoes the offensive stance it took ahead of its invasion earlier this year.

On Thursday, April 21, a convoy of pro-Russian troops moves along a road in Mariupol, Ukraine.
(REUTERS / Chingis Kondarov)

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It is unclear whether these vehicles will then be used to organize another land invasion, but according to UK defense officials, Moscow has historically been reluctant to rely on such equipment.

“Russia has long considered them unsuitable for most frontline infantry transport roles,” the defense ministry said in a tweet on Saturday. “It was originally designed in the 1950s as a tractor to haul artillery, has very limited armor and only mounts a machine gun for protection.”

Russia reportedly relied on BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles in its initial invasion which, in stark contrast, were equipped with armor more than an inch thick and fitted with “a powerful” 30mm automatic cannon. , which is a fully automatic machine gun-like weapon that fires bullets rather than bullets, along with an anti-tank missile launcher.

A Russian military convoy stands on its way to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine on Sunday 1 May.

A Russian military convoy stands on its way to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine on Sunday 1 May.
(AP)

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“Despite President Putin’s claim on July 7 that the Russian military” hasn’t even started “its efforts in Ukraine, many of its reinforcements are ad hoc groupings, lined up with outdated or inadequate equipment,” the ministry said. of Defense.

The intelligence update released as newly recruited Ukrainian forces head to Britain for military training, where they will also be equipped with body armor, boots and clothing appropriate to Ukraine’s camp conditions upon their return to the front lines .

The decision to train Ukraine’s new recruits more heavily, all of whom have little or no military experience, comes just weeks after Ukraine reported losing between 100 and 200 troops every day.

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Ukrainian military personnel board a combat vehicle outside Kiev, Ukraine on Saturday, April 2, 2022. As Russian forces withdraw from the Ukrainian capital region, retreating troops are creating a "catastrophic" situation for civilians leaving mines around homes, abandoned equipment and "even the bodies of the slain," President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned on Saturday.

Ukrainian military gets into a combat vehicle outside Kiev, Ukraine on Saturday, April 2, 2022. As Russian forces withdraw from the Ukrainian capital region, retreating troops are creating a “catastrophic” situation for civilians by leaving mines around homes. , abandoned equipment and “even the bodies of the people killed,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Saturday.
(Photo AP / Vadim Ghirda)

It is unclear what kind of losses Russia is suffering as she too appears to bring reinforcements.

The Ukrainian defense ministry said more than 37,000 Russian soldiers died in the fighting, but the numbers have not been verified by international defense officials.

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