April 11. NATO has said that the published satellite images showing Russian military build-up near Ukraine’s borders are accurate, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (Mons, Belgium) has told a Ukrinform correspondent.
“Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) defends the accuracy of the images that were released to media on Thursday, April 10, 2014. The dates of the images released by SHAPE were collected by the DigitalGlobe satellite ‘Constellation’ between late March and early April 2014,” NATO said.
SHAPE did not alter or edit the images in any way prior to release.
NATO also released on Friday additional images alongside those that were released earlier, in order to clearly show that the claims of Russian officials are categorically false.
“SHAPE stands firm in its assessment that Russian forces in the vicinity of the border with Ukraine number in the range of 35,000 to 40,000 troops and are equipped with infantry fighting vehicles, tanks, combat aircraft, logistics, and artillery. These forces are destabilizing to the region,” NATO said.
Russian officials were quoted in various media sources claiming that the images were from August 2013, and that they depicted an exercise conducted at that time.