It should come as no surprise at this point that Crimea is chock full of Russian troops. If you’re not one to be impressed by Russian uniforms then rows on rows of Tigrs and BTR-80s should do the trick.
Russian BMD-2s on the move in Rostov.
The Russians themselves don’t seem to care much whether the rest of the world knows about their presence as they see it as a matter of time that Crimea becomes Russian regardless of an invasion. What is interesting, however, is how adamant they are on keeping their presence ambiguous, only the old-school BTR-80s are being seen inside Crimea and all the other equipment is technically also open for export, however unlikely a militia mass-mobilizing this equipment may be.
Shown below is a convoy of BTRs within Crimea, this type of vehicle as well as GAZ Tigr is a common sight among Russian troops in Ukraine.
Meanwhile on the other side of the border, much more modern equipment is being accumulated under the guise of exercises, among others, the auto-canon version of the BTR-80 (BTR-82a) is seen as well as a wealth of BMD-2s, the Infantry Fighting Vehicle(IFV) of the Russian airborne service VDV which has been reported present several times during the first days of the invasion.
The tweet below is describing the mobilization of BMD-2s in Rostov, Russia. Rostov oblast borders the largely Russian ethic regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, these IFVs are certainly heading towards the border region with the other troops already mobilized alongside eastern Ukraine.
Recently Ukraine has requested to send a reconnaissance mission over the Russian side of the border to which the Kremlin has agreed due to a pre-existing airspace agreement between the two countries. The time of the flight is yet to be established and is in reality moot as Russia will respond to any troop mobilization claims with claims of exercises going on in the area.
An interesting point you can take from the equipment mobilized is that if you look back at Georgia in 2008 (inevitably I had to do it), the equipment was far older than what we are seeing moving around on the border now. This could indicate that Russia sees a greater potential conflict in Ukraine or a variety of other factors.
In any case, an all out war appears far off and Russia is unlikely to make a move on mainland Ukraine as the current situation stands.