The image at left shows an excavator sitting near the Russian/Ukrainian border. That photo, along with several others taken this Monday, shows the beginnings of a massive military base scheduled for completion next April.
Documents related to the Russian base refer to the United States Army as a “likely enemy” and describe areas of the complex that will be used to study American tactics. Still, President Obama has done nothing in response to this very apparent threat.
The base is being constructed near Soloti, a village located southeast of Belgorod, Russia. According to documents seen by Reuters, the first phase will be finished by April 2016. The site will include ammunition depots, barracks, a gigantic mess hall, a communications node, one thousand residential apartments, and even a skating rink and swimming pool.
“They are building a military town,” said Alexander Panchenko, a local farmer who lives nearby. Reuters reported that the base will be used as a training facility and will be able to accommodate several thousand soldiers.
Russia annexed Crimea (a Ukrainian territory) last year and many believe the secret base signals Russian support for pro-Russian separatists fighting against Kiev. Russia denies sending arms and/or troops to the rebels despite accusations from NATO. Many fear this action will cause infighting and that Putin will use this conflict as reason to invade.
The Reuters reporter sent to investigate the secret base was detained and suspected of being a spy. Russian officials refused to answer when asked if the base was connected to the fight for Ukraine. A representative in Soloti said only that a “secret facility” was under construction.
The future base is located near a railroad that connects Soloti to Moscow and Luhansk, a Ukrainian region controlled by pro-Russian separatists. Fighting in that area has resulted in the deaths of nearly 8,000 people since last April.
The Ukrainian parliament forged a truce with pro-Russian separatists earlier this month, but since neither side agreed to withdraw weapons from areas of conflict, many fear peace will be short-lived.