Is Russia withdrawing troops from the border? USA says: No, on the contrary
Is Russia withdrawing troops from the border? The USA and NATO say no, on the contrary
Moscow’s announcement that troops would be withdrawn from the border with Ukraine had fueled hopes that the conflict over Ukraine could ease. But the USA and NATO do not see a deduction, but an increase.
The morning before Olaf Scholz in the Kremlin with Vladimir Putin about the Ukraine-Conflict spoke, Russia had indicated that parts of the troops on the western border would be withdrawn. The talks between the two heads of government did not go smoothly, but both the Chancellor and the Russian President then stated that there was hope for “good development” (Scholz) and “willingness to engage in dialogue” (Putin). That was Tuesday evening and for a day there was a definite sense of relief everywhere. But Russia’s announcements may not be followed by corresponding actions. “Russia says it wants to find a diplomatic solution, but its actions indicate the opposite,” a source close to the US government said.
Is Russia increasing its troops?
According to the senior White House official, not only would the troop presence on the border with Ukraine not be reduced, but it would even be increased by “7,000 soldiers”. He also assured that Russia could “at any time” launch an operation that would serve as a pretext for an invasion of Ukraine. Now, times of crisis are always the heyday of disinformation, propaganda and deception, but if the information from the US government was correct, the hope of de-escalation would have been significantly dampened.
The British government also shares the assessment of the USAthat no Russian troops had been withdrawn from the border with Ukraine. “There is currently no evidence that the Russians are withdrawing from the border regions with Ukraine,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss wrote in a guest article in the Telegraph. She warned that the crisis could drag on for weeks or even months.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Defense in Moscow reported another troop withdrawal from the Ukrainian border. After the end of the planned maneuvers, an army platoon with military equipment from armored units in the West Military District “started its way to its home base,” the ministry said. Information on the place of departure and destination was not given. It was only said that the tanks would be transported “about a thousand kilometers” by train.
“Units return to bases”
In addition, a partial deduction of soldiers from the Crimea announced. “Units of the Southern Military District, having completed their tactical exercises at the Crimean Training Area, are returning to their home bases by train,” Russian news agencies quoted the ministry as saying. Television footage showed a train loaded with military vehicles crossing a bridge connecting Russia’s annexed Ukrainian peninsula to the mainland.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said there were “signals from Moscow that diplomacy could continue, but so far we haven’t seen any signs of retreat or de-escalation.” Russia has recently again demonstrated its ability and willingness to use force to achieve its goals. “Unfortunately, I’m afraid this is the new normal that we need to be prepared for,” Stoltenberg said.
Russian troops on the border with Ukraine: These satellite photos make the West nervous
The West is extremely concerned about the Russian troop deployment. It is feared that the transfer of tens of thousands of soldiers could serve to prepare for war. Russia dismisses this as “hysteria.” Meanwhile, however, several Russian maneuvers continue – including in neighboring Belarus. According to the Defense Ministry, a naval exercise involving 20 ships began in the Caspian Sea.
In the midst of the saber-rattling, Belarus is positioning itself with a particularly clear warning to the West: According to Head of State Alexander Lukashenko, he is ready to station nuclear weapons in the event of a threat. “If necessary,” his country will not only adopt nuclear weapons, “but also super-nuclear weapons, promising weapons” to “defend our territory,” he said, according to the Belarusian news agency Belta.