NATO: Russian troops near Ukraine ready for combat, not training

A satellite photo purportedly shows Russian Su-33 "Flanker" military jets at Yeysk air base near the Ukrainian border. (DigitalGlobe/NATO)
A satellite photo purportedly shows Russian Su-33 "Flanker" military jets at Yeysk air base near the Ukrainian border. (DigitalGlobe/NATO)

(CNN) — NATO has released satellite images appearing to show large numbers of Russian forces massed near Ukraine’s border.

NATO Chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen says Russian troops near the border are not training — as Moscow claims — they’re ready for combat.

Rasmussen and the U.S. estimate up to 40-thousand Russian troops are there.

“As I speak, some 40,000 Russian troops are massed along Ukraine’s borders. Not training, but ready for combat. We have seen the satellite images, day after day. Russia is stirring up ethnic tensions in eastern Ukraine and provoking unrest. And Russia is using its military might to dictate that Ukraine should become a federal, neutral state. That is a decision which only Ukraine, as a sovereign state, can make. Nobody else,” Rasmussen said.

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