Russia moving supplies, forces into Donbas, senior US defense official says: Report
Reportedly Russia is seeking to restock and reinforce its forces in the Donbas
Convoy of vehicles are approaching the Ukrainian city of Izyum from the north
US Defense Department is investigating alternatives for training more Ukrainians on the Switchblade drone technology
Russia is seeking to restock and reinforce its forces in the Donbas, as shown by a convoy of vehicles approaching the Ukrainian city of Izyum from the north, according to a senior US defence official, reported CNN.
According to the source, the vehicle line contains a "command and control element, a support battalion, basically enablers, perhaps rotary-wing aviation support and other infantry support."
The official stated that there are indications that Russia is working to reinforce its position southwest of Donetsk, mainly with artillery units.
According to the official, the US does not consider this to be a "new offensive" in the Donbas, but rather than Russian forces are "working to reinforce their capabilities and to add to it."
Meanwhile, according to a senior US defence official, the US Defense Department is investigating alternatives for training more Ukrainians on the Switchblade drone technology.
However, no decisions have been made regarding "what that would look like, how long would it take, where would it be, who would train," according to the official.
There were once a small number of Ukrainians in the US undergoing military training who were trained on the system before returning to Ukraine.
The Donetsk and Luhansk areas, known collectively as the Donbas, declared independence from Ukrainian government rule in April 2014 and declared themselves autonomous "people's republics." They are home to Russian-backed insurgents who have been fighting Ukrainian military for the past eight years. Over 14,000 people have died.
The separatist areas staged a public vote the next month to declare independence and seek to join Russia. Moscow has refused to recognise the move, instead of using the territories to keep Ukraine in its orbit and prevent it from joining NATO.
According to a report from the UK Ministry of Defense, Russian military forces continued to shell the eastern Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk on Monday.
According to the assessment, Ukrainian forces resisted many attacks, resulting in the destruction of Russian tanks, vehicles, and artillery equipment.
According to the UK report, Russia's deployment of phosphorous munitions in Donetsk "raises the possibility of their future employment in Mariupol as fighting for the city intensifies."
"White phosphorus can burn people to the bone, smolder inside the body, and reignite when bandages are removed," according to Human Rights Watch.