‘West has been destroyed without a shot fired’ – Russia
With Russia announcing that its troops are pulling back following the completion of exercises near the border with Ukraine, Moscow has insisted that predictions it could be just moments away from ordering a full-blown invasion have been proven false.
In a fiery statement on Tuesday, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova poured scorn on weeks of reports and claims from US and European officials that Moscow’s armed forces could be just hours away from launching a strike against its neighbor.
“15 February 2022 will go down in history as the day Western war propaganda failed,” she wrote. According to her, the West has been “shamed and destroyed without firing a single shot.”
At the same time, Moscow’s Ministry of Defense announced that a number of Russian troops had finished their training exercises in Belarus, close to the Ukrainian border, and will begin the process of withdrawing.
Zakharova’s comments come after American business outlet Bloomberg reported on Saturday, citing unnamed officials, that an offensive against Ukraine could take place as early as Tuesday. The agency reported that a possible attack might include a provocation in the Donbass region or against Kiev.
The White House’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, told CNN over the weekend that “sources” and “gathered intelligence” suggested “major military action” could “begin any day now.” He said that this included the coming week before the end of the Olympic games.
Tensions on the shared border have escalated in recent months, with Western officials raising the alarm that Moscow’s troops could soon stage an invasion. The Kremlin has repeatedly insisted that it has no aggressive intentions and has accused English-language outlets of whipping up mass “hysteria.”
Amid fears of a potential incursion, Moscow has sought security guarantees that would limit the expansion of NATO closer to its borders and block Ukraine from joining its ranks. However, the bloc’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that Russia has “no veto” on Kiev’s ambitions to secure membership.
On Monday, Russia’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, said that his side had been disappointed by the response from NATO and the US, but there were still hopes of reaching a diplomatic solution. Speaking shortly after Zakharova on Tuesday, he claimed that Western reports of an imminent invasion amounted to “information terrorism.”