Ukraine’s military claims that intelligence it has gathered on the Russian buildup of military hardware and personnel on the Russia-Ukraine border do not support reports that Russian units stationed on the border are now stockpiling blood and other medical supplies needed to treat casualties.
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense’s Center for Operational Information says that Ukrainian intelligence has found no evidence of Russian stockpiling of medical supplies so far, and have similarly not received any intelligence from foreign partners of such activity. The center stressed that Ukrainian intelligence had not officially received any such information, claiming that “informational interventions” were part of psychological warfare.
The denial was in response to the publication of a Reuters report on the stockpiling of blood and other medical supplies by Russian units, citing three American officials speaking on condition of anonymity. While the officials would not detail when exactly the stockpiling had been detected, two of them said that it had been noticed “within recent weeks”. While the U.S. Department of Defense has previously acknowledged the deployment of Russian medical support as part of the buildup, experts that spoke to Reuters say the disclosure of the blood stockpiling is a critical indicator for determining Russian military readiness for an incursion into Ukraine.
Ukrainian deputy defense minister Hanna Malyar had issued a denial of the reporting earlier, claiming on Facebook that the reporting was intended to “spread panic and fear” in Ukrainian society. A White House spokesperson noted previous public warnings about Russian military readiness when contacted by Reuters for comment, while the Department of Defense declined to comment on intelligence assessments.
While Ukraine’s military has begun training to utilize military aid delivered in recent weeks, and civilians increasingly signing on for civil defense training, Kyiv has begun calling for calm amongst the Ukrainian populace. President Volodmyr Zelensky has said that “we don’t need this panic”, stating that while he could not rule out the possibility of a Russian attack, destabilization from within was the largest threat Ukraine currently faced. In particular, he called for economic aid, with an investment of $4-5 billion needed to help stabilize an economy that has become increasingly stressed by fears of a new war.