Putin sends armoured vehicles including T80 and T72 tanks to Crimea

Tanks a lot! Putin sends scores of armoured vehicles including T80 and T72 tanks and self-propelled howitzers to Crimea as his henchman Medvedev claims Russians do NOT target civilians in Ukraine

  • Tanks and armoured cars pictured arriving in Crimea on Russian trains yesterday
  • Putin appears set to send more troops into Donbas from region annexed in 2014
  • Ukrainian strikes on  Russian fighter jets and ammo hauls in Crimea forces pivot
  • Eerie footage shows dozens of T-80 and T-72 tanks plus rocket launchers

Dozens of Russian tanks and armoured cars were seen arriving in Crimea on Russian trains as Putin prepares to send more troops into Ukraine via the annexed region.

Fighting in the crucial Donbas region has intensified in recent weeks as Moscow has sought to gain control of eastern Ukraine.

But a series of Ukrainian strikes on valuable Russian fighter jets and ammunition warehouses in Crimea has reportedly forced Putin to change tack.

The eerie footage recorded yesterday shows scores of T-80 and T-72 tanks as well as howitzer rocket launchers and armoured cars close to Taman in mainland Russia.

Images released by independent media in Crimea show a long line of Russian vehicles

Just across the Kerch Bridge is the Black Sea peninsula, which Putin stole in 2014. 

Other weaponry on the train included 152mm self-propelled Msta-S launchers and the 122mm regimental self-propelled 2S1 Gvozdika. 

Putin is thought to be moving new weaponry to the key Kherson region, where his forces are under threat of a Ukrainian fightback.

The footage was revealed by Krym.Realii under the US government-backed Radio Liberty.

Reinforcements are thought to be deployed in Donbas and strategically crucial Kherson areas

A link of tanks on top of Russian trains were seen as they prepared to cross the Kerch Bridge

Russia’s reinforcements came as ex-president and prime minister Dmitry Medvedev claimed his boss was ‘most sparing’ in his use of aggression in Ukraine.

The Putin lackey said: ‘We understand that [the war] is now proceeding in line with the most sparing, moderate option.’

Claiming without evidence that there have been no civilian casualties, he said: ‘Our country, as well as the forces of the Donetsk Republic and the Luhansk Republic, act only against the armed forces of Ukraine.’

Russia could have ended the war by unleashing shock and awe on major cities, he said – but ‘we didn’t go for that option.’

He insisted: ‘This military campaign could have ended much faster. But there would have been completely different consequences for Ukraine.

‘Its infrastructure would be completely destroyed, decision-making centers, authorities and so on would be destroyed.’

Medvedev is now deputy head of Russia’s powerful security council.

He claimed Russia was ‘forced’ to invade Ukraine.

The hardliner also blamed Kyiv leaders for failing to recognise the geopolitical realities and ‘persecuting its own people’ in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

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