Ukraine: The tension between NATO and Russia escalated to a new high as Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) released a package of DigitalGlobe’s satellite imagery to media outlets on April 10, 2014. The images show details of the location and type of Russian units NATO has observed along the border with Ukraine.
SHAPE, is the Headquarters of Allied Command Operations (ACO), one of NATO's two strategic military commands. NATO claims that the imagery reveals Russian military buildup on Ukraine’s eastern border. The pictures show rows of hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles apparently waiting for orders in fields and other temporary locations around 30 miles (50km) from the frontier.
The images, taken in the past two weeks, show some of what NATO said was around 100 staging areas that were almost entirely unoccupied in February. According to NATO the images reveal telltale signs of an invading force, and not merely troops on “exercise” as Moscow has claimed.
One of the images showed the previously empty Buturlinovka airbase 90 miles from the border now hosting dozens of fast jets, even though there are no hangars or other infrastructure normally associated with such activity. Another, of Belgorod, 25 miles from the border, showed about 21 helicopters on a greenfield site – again with no hangers or infrastructure – which officials said could be part of a forward operating base.