“No significant retreat” of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that the United States had seen no withdrawal of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border, disputing claims by Moscow that the Kremlin had withdrawn some of its forces.
“Unfortunately, there is a difference between what Russia says and what it does, and what we see is not a significant rollback,” Blinken said in an interview on “Good Morning America” d ‘ABC Wednesday. “On the contrary, we continue to see forces, especially forces that would be at the forefront of any further aggression against Ukraine, continuing to be on the border only to masse on the border.”
Blinken went on to detail the U.S. assessment in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” explaining that Russian troops “remain massed in a very threatening manner along Ukraine’s borders. It would be nice if they followed up on what they said. But so far we haven’t seen it.
The secretary’s remarks on Wednesday went further than those the day before by President Joe Biden, who said there may be a diplomatic resolution to the mass of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border but that “an invasion remains at all made possible”.
While Russia’s Defense Ministry said some troops were withdrawing after completing military training, Biden said on Tuesday that Russian troops remained in a “threatening position.” NATO leaders also said their organization had seen no signs of de-escalation.
“At the moment, we have not seen any withdrawal of Russian forces,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, according to The Associated Press. “If they really start to withdraw their forces, that’s something we’ll be happy about, but that remains to be seen.”
In a statement on Wednesday, Blinken said that if the Russian parliament decides to ask President Vladimir Putin to recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine – where Russian-backed separatists have fought a battle of a year against the Ukrainian government – as independent, it would “undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” and engender uncertainty in Russia’s diplomatic efforts.
Blinken said recognition “would constitute a flagrant violation of international law, would call into question Russia’s stated commitment to continue to engage in diplomacy to bring about a peaceful resolution to this crisis, and would require a swift and firm response. of the United States in full coordination with our allies and partners.