With Russia withdrawing troops, but leaving tanks and ships

, Ukraine has asked Germany for anti-ship missiles and old corvettes, Germany’s  dw.com news site reported Saturday. Separately, the Rada committees on defense, infrastructure and foreign relations want to hold hearings on a deal with Turkey to buy four Ada class corvettes. Ukrainian Navy officers fear the project will eat up a large part of the budget of Navy and that the corvettes will be easy targets for Russian anti-ship missiles.

Satellite photos of Crimea show “airborne troops, motorized rifle and armored units, attack helicopters, smoke generators, reconnaissance drones, jamming equipment and a military hospital,

’’ according to The Wall Street Journal. Headlined “Satellite Images Show Russia’s Expanding Ukraine Buildup”, the article is accompanied by photos taken between March 27 and April 16 by Maxar Technologies, a commercial satellite and imaging company. The Biden Administration is considering sending to Ukraine “antitank, antiship and antiaircraft systems, according to a person familiar with the deliberations.”

Russia has blocked the airspace over Crimea and parts of the Black Sea through Saturday,

 Interfax has reported from Moscow, citing an official NOTAM, or international ‘notice to airmen.’ NOTAM said yesterday, “The area has been declared temporarily dangerous for aircraft flights.” Russia is conducting aviation drills with Sukhoi Su-25 attack aircraft, and has closed the airspace up to 19,000 meters, or 62,000 feet. For comparison, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was flying at 33,000 feet on July 17, 2014, when it was shot down by a Buk surface to air missile fired from Russia-controlled Donbas.

The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, yesterday announced that 150,000 Russian troops are concentrated on Ukraine’s eastern border and in Crimea

. Noting that the deployment includes field hospitals, he warned that only “a spark” could set off a conflict. On Saturday, four large landing ships from Russia’s Baltic and Northern fleets entered the Black Sea. From the east, 15 smaller ships from Russia’s Caspian Flotilla also entered the Black Sea. Russia’s Southern Military District said Saturday that over 50 aircraft were involved in an exercise over the Black Sea.

Russia’s military buildup on Ukraine’s border and in Crimea

“has also pushed Ukrainian sovereign bonds to their lowest level since November,” Reuters reported last night. Adamant Capital elaborated: “The price of Ukraine’s 11-year benchmark Eurobond (2032) has tumbled over the past week (by roughly 370 bps) signaling investor concerns over the possibility of a military escalation.” From the other side, the Russian ruble dropped yesterday to 77 to the dollar, its lowest level since November.

After seven years of war, 71% of Ukrainian poll respondents consider Russia the aggressor in the Russia-Ukraine conflict,

according to a poll conducted last week by the Rating Sociological group. The survey of 2,500 people was conducted before Russian TV aired video of dozens of Russian armored vehicles and self-propelled guns crossing the Kerch Strait bridge. In the poll, 45% of respondents supported restoring water supplies to Crimea and 48% did not support it.