The deployments are likely linked to joint exercises between Russian and Belarus forces that are due to begin on Thursday. However, other photographs show camps being established close to the border with Ukraine, hundreds of miles from where the exercises are taking place.
The images from Maxar — taken Saturday — are consistent with recently posted social media videos showing Russian forces moving through Belarus and creating field camps within 20 miles of the Ukrainian border.
Some of the imagery shows Belarus’ Luninets airfield, where Russian fighter jets have deployed ahead of the exercises, dubbed Union Resolve 2022. Photographs show Russian S-400 air defense systems and Su-25 attack aircraft at the airfield. The Russian Defense Ministry released video on Saturday of the arrival of the planes at Luninets.
Other photographs from Maxar show Russian forces establishing themselves at some distance from where the exercises are planned — including at Rechitsa, a Belarusian city about 170 miles (270 kilometers) east of Luninets close to where the borders of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine meet.
The force gathered there includes tanks, howitzers and infantry fighting vehicles.
The images show that for the first time several tent encampments have been created at Rechitsa. That development and recent footage from the area suggest a growing Russian presence there. Videos posted to social media show Russian troops entertaining local people in Rechitsa, with music and demonstrations at an event called Two Nations, One History, One People.
Several other images from Maxar show a growing Russian presence southwest of Rechitsa, and within 15 miles (25 kilometers) of the Ukrainian border, in rural areas close to the town of Yelsk.
Maxar assesses the deployment near Yelsk to include short-range Iskander ballistic missiles, which have a range of about 250 miles (400 kilometers.)
Analysts at IHS/Janes, a military intelligence firm, believe there are elements of at least three Russian Battalion Tactical Group at Yelsk.
One European diplomat called the massing of forces a “big, big worry,” noting this would be the missing piece that Moscow would need to launch a quick attack on the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, which is less than two hours from the border of Belarus.
The White House, however, has stopped saying a potential Russian invasion is “imminent” due to concerns that the term suggests President Vladimir Putin has already made a decision to invade Ukraine.
Ukraine presidential adviser Mykhailo Podoliak said Sunday there was no evidence Russia will take “critical steps for a full-scale invasion” of the country, but added that Kyiv and its partners are preparing for any possible scenarios.
“The situation is completely under control. One way or another, we are not reducing the activity of diplomatic work to ensure a sustainable and full-fledged de-escalation,” Podoliak told state media.
He noted that the “threatening concentration” of Russian troops at Ukraine’s borders remains, but stressed that it has been “going on for several years.”
CNN’s Barbara Starr, Jennifer Hansler and Joshua Berlinger contributed to this report