Kremlin reveals how Putin jokes about Western media
Russia has mocked claims made by Western media outlets that an “invasion” of Ukraine will begin at 3am on February 16, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov saying that Ukrainians who believe such things are welcome to stay up.
“It’s better for them to set alarms for this time and see for themselves,” Peskov jokingly told RIA Novosti shortly after midnight on Wednesday, when asked whether Ukrainians can sleep peacefully or need to worry.
President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary was commenting on reports in a number of Western outlets – notably several British tabloids – that Russia would “invade” Ukraine at 3am local time on Wednesday (1am GMT). The outlets cited anonymous US intelligence officials as sources for the claim.
Peskov previously joked that Putin sometimes asks him – likewise in jest – if the exact time of the “invasion” has been published in the Western press.
Earlier in the day, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that the joint exercises in Belarus had ended as scheduled, and showed videos of tanks and other equipment traveling back to Russia. Meanwhile, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu appeared in Syria, touring the Russian troops at Khmeimim, the air base used to fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and other terrorists since 2015.
Over in Kiev, the head of President Volodymyr Zelensky’s own party in the parliament, David Arakhamia, told Ukrainian TV that he was “99.9% confident that nothing will happen” on February 16.
Commenting on the nonexistent “invasion,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Tuesday that February 15, 2022 would “go down in history as the day Western war propaganda failed,” adding that the West has been “shamed and destroyed without firing a single shot.”
Meanwhile in Washington, US President Joe Biden delivered a short address at the White House about Ukraine. Saying that an invasion was still possible, he admitted that some Russian troops have withdrawn from the border. He confirmed that the US has urged its citizens to leave Ukraine and “temporarily” relocated its embassy from Kiev to the western city of Lviv, before going on to speak about NATO unity and resolve.