Japanese Defense Ministry Spots Russia’s Warships Taking Troops to Ukraine – According to the Japanese Ministry of Defense Twitter account, four Russian warships were spotted passing through the Tsugaru Strait in northeastern Japan on Tuesday and Wednesday, potentially transporting Russian troops and military vehicles to Ukraine. Photographs of the ships showed dozens of trucks, possibly filled with ammunition and weapons, traveling through the strait.
“Japan’s Ministry of Defense will continue to monitor the situation and movements of the Russian army with a high sense of caution,” a tweet from the ministry reads.
The Tsugaru Strait runs through the two biggest islands in Japan, Hokkaido, and Honshu.
In February, less than two weeks before the Ukrainian invasion began, an “unusual;” deployment of submarines and destroyers were seen in the waters off the coast of Japan in what was understood to be a warning against Japan siding with the United States in a future conflict in Ukraine.
In a February press conference, Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said that the deployment of the vessels “comes in parallel with Russian forces’ recent activities in areas close to Ukraine.”
James Brown, an associate professor of international relations at Tokyo’s Temple University campus, also described the deployment as “very unusual in both its scale and timing.”
Russia Redeploys Troops After Heavy Losses
On Tuesday, the British Defense Ministry said that Russia was calling for military reinforcements from across the country, redeploying troops to Ukraine after experiencing heavy losses over the last three weeks.
A public intelligence assessment released by the British Ministry of Defence on Tuesday said that Russia is “increasingly seeking to generate additional troops to bolster and replace its personnel losses.”
“It is likely Russia is struggling to conduct offensive operations in the face of sustained Ukrainian resistance,” the assessment continued.
The deployment of ships in the Tsugaru Strait supports that idea, indicating that additional Russian troops could soon find their way to the borders of Ukraine and continue onwards through Ukraine to its major population centers.
According to the British government, Russia is redeploying troops from as far away as the Eastern Military District, Armenia, and the Pacific Fleet.
At the same time, Russia is accepting additional support from Syria – with an estimated 16,000 volunteer troops already on their way – and from a range of private military companies.
“Russia will likely attempt to use these forces to hold captured territory and free up its combat power to renew stalled offensive operations,” the assessment reads.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and report on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.