(RoyalPatriot.com )- According to the Ukrainian Military, Russia has deployed mobile battlefield missile launchers about 40 miles from the Ukraine border.
In its daily morning update on Sunday, the Ukrainian Armed Forces said Russian forces have begun concentrating additional units in the Russian city of Belgorod. As part of the build-up, Iskander-M missile launchers have been deployed approximately 60 km from the Ukrainian border.
The Iskander-M mobile system’s two ballistic missiles can carry either conventional or nuclear warheads and have a range of up to three hundred miles. The Iskander, code-named SS-26 Stone by NATO, replaced the former Soviet Scud missile.
The system was first used in 2008 during the conflict in Georgia. Designed to evade missile defense systems by flying on a low trajectory, the missiles can maneuver in flight and can strike a target with an accuracy of 2 to 5 meters.
The build-up in Belgorod comes as Russia is reportedly planning a sham election in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson in southern Ukraine.
In a Friday address to the nation, President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke directly to the people in Kherson about Russia’s planned sham referendum. He urged Kherson’s residents to be careful about what personal data they share with Russian soldiers, warning that it could be used to falsify votes.
Kherson has been under Russian control since early March. The planned “referendum” will reportedly seek to transform the region into a pro-Moscow “people’s republic,” making the region a Russian-controlled land bridge to Crimea.
Kherson Mayor Igor Kolykhaiev warned during a Zoom interview on Ukrainian TV last week that any such election would be illegal since the region officially remains a part of Ukraine.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko denied knowing of any such proposal to hold a referendum in Kherson.
In 2014, Russia held a referendum in Crimea as part of its annexation of the region that was widely believed to be fraudulent. The referendum results showed nearly 97 percent of the votes were in support of Crimea joining the Russian Federation.
This week, Mayor Kolykhaiev reported on social media that Russian forces had seized City Hall and removed the Ukrainian flag. On Tuesday, the Russians replaced the mayor with a Moscow-approved appointee.