Russia had begun preparations for the capture of Crimea long before active action started. According to Ukraine’s military intelligence data, a group of Russian troops was created in 2013 to ensure the security of the Winter Olympics in Russia.

During this period, blocking of maritime waters and airspace, conducting reconnaissance operations against Ukraine were practiced.

“We analyzed the location of the first and second echelons, reserves and the configuration of troops at the joint Russia-Belarus exercises in 2013. This is exactly the scenario that was repeated in the occupation of Donbas in 2014,” the Main Intelligence Directorate’s representative Vadym Skibitsky said.

According to Skibitsky, on February 23, 2014, the command system of the Southern Military District of the Russian Armed Forces and groups in Crimea were put on full combat alert. The units involved in strengthening the Black Sea Fleet had already left their permanent stations and started moving to Crimea, he added.

Source –