2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Longmont firm’s images of Russian troops firm spur invasion worry

Published: April 11, 2014, 9:56 am, by Tom Roeder

flankersThe top American commander in Europe, Air Force Gen. Phil Breedlove has taken to Facebook with satellite images of an apparent Russian buildup that could foreshadow a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

And the imagery isn’t from some exotic spy satellite. It’s from the Longmont-based satellite imagery company DigitalGlobe.

The commercial satellite images clearly show Russian tanks, artillery and bombers at bases near Ukraine.

“Russian forces around Ukraine are not positioned to exercise, they are fully equipped and capable to invade,” Breedlove wrote on Facebook. “Public denials of this simple fact are undermining progress toward a political resolution and cast serious doubts about intentions. These satellite images tell the real story.”

Breedlove described the Russian forces as an army capable of combined-arms attacks on command.

NATO is sending surveillance planes for flights over nations neighboring Russia in a show of force.

“NATO continues to monitor events closely and has prudently increased AWACS surveillance flights over Romania and Poland in order to maintain awareness of activity in Ukraine,” NATO said in a new release. “The Alliance has also significantly increased air policing activity and the number of aircraft dedicated to this task.”

Fears of a full invasion of the Ukraine have been on a rise since Russian troops aided in partitioning the Crimea there last month.

Russia has denied the accuracy of the images and NATO’s interpretation of them.