The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab (DFRLab) is keeping a close eye on Russia’s movements across the military, cyber, and information domains as the crisis in Europe over Ukraine heats up - 04.02.22 .
With more than five years of experience monitoring the situation in Ukraine, as well as Russia’s use of propaganda and disinformation to undermine the United States, NATO, and the European Union (EU), DFRLab’s global team presents the latest installment of the Russian Hybrid Threats Report.
S-400 missile systems spotted in Belarus as the national guard mobilizes in Chechnya
Over the past week, the Russian military buildup near Ukraine and in Crimea has continued at a steady pace.
In Belarus, the DFRLab noted the arrival of the 69th Covering Brigade and the 101st Logistics Brigade in Gomel Oblast from the Eastern Military District. On February 3, the DFRLab confirmed the arrival of the 2nd S-400 Triumph Missile Battalion in Belarus at Luninets station, fifty kilometers from the Ukrainian border. Additional footage of S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems had first surfaced on February 2. This is the first time the DFRLab has observed S-400s inside Belarusian territory.
Additionally, river-crossing equipment including pontoon bridges and amphibious transport vehicles arrived in Gomel Oblast and were spotted heading from Gomel in the direction of Rechitsa, approximately sixty kilometers from the Ukrainian border and three hundred kilometers due north of Kyiv. This is a cause for concern since Russia might use this equipment in offensive operations in the river-dense areas north of Kyiv, notably including the Dnipro River, which forms a natural border between Ukraine and Belarus.
Also spotted in the Gomel region was a Krasukha-4 electronic warfare (EW) system, accompanied by R-934UMV and Leer-3 EW systems. The Krasukha-4 is an advanced system which may be used to interfere with early-warning and reconnaissance aircraft, including NATO aircraft that currently operate within Ukraine collecting information on the build-up. The R-934UMV and Leer-3 offer additional options to interfere with radio and cellular signals.
Notably, Russia has used the Leer-3 in the past to send demoralizing text messages to Ukrainian soldiers in the field. Throughout the past several weeks, several trains carrying armored vehicles were also spotted carrying Borisoglebsk-2 EW systems that are capable of monitoring and interfering with enemy signals. In addition to these systems spotted in Belarus, Infauna and Leer-2 EW systems have also been spotted on trains moving from the Russian far east to Belarus.
Meanwhile, the 200th Motor-Rifle Brigade of the Russian Northern Fleet has begun moving equipment south from the Murmansk Oblast towards a currently unknown destination. This equipment includes weapons such as rocket artillery, self-propelled artillery, short-range air defense, armored personnel carriers, and tanks.
For the full eight page report in pdf, please click here:
Russian troops - Battalion1