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  • Crisis in Ukraine    August 5 
Russia now has enough troops amassed to invade Ukraine at will
Rob Stothard/Getty Images
Rob Stothard/Getty Images

Ukraine's government forces are slowly fighting their way toward the eastern city of Donetsk, held by pro-Moscow separatists. Perhaps in response, Western officials said Monday, Russia has greatly ramped up its military forces along Ukraine's eastern border, almost doubling the number of battalions, to roughly 17 battalions — or anywhere from 12,000 to 21,000 troops, plus heavy artillery, advanced surface-to-air missiles, and other hallmarks of an invading army.

Western intelligence services aren't sure what President Vladimir Putin has in mind with the show of military might, but one possibility that worries them is that he'll send a "peacekeeping" force into Ukraine if Kiev's troops look likely to rout the insurgency. "That's a very real option," an unidentified senior Defense Department official told The New York Times. "And should Putin decide, he could do that with little or no notice. We just don't know what he's thinking."

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