Russian withdrawal claims ‘false’ – US media
Russia’s claims that its armed forces are retreating from the border with Ukraine are untrue, and troop numbers in the area are, in fact, increasing, a customarily anonymous Washington official allegedly claimed on Wednesday.
Speaking to Reuters on the condition of anonymity, a senior US administration official insisted that Moscow had deployed thousands more troops to the Russia-Ukraine border, where it is alleged that more than 100,000 soldiers are already stationed.
The allegation contradicts an announcement from the Russian Ministry of Defense on Tuesday, which stated that some units had completed their training drills and were beginning to return to their bases.
Furthermore, in the next few days, joint exercises being held between Russian and Belarusian troops are also due to come to an end. Some Western governments had previously suggested that the drills indicate a potential imminent invasion of Ukraine.
Despite Moscow’s announcement of withdrawal, the on-the-ground situation regarding de-escalation on the Ukrainian border, according to US President Joe Biden, remains “unverified.”
The White House official who spoke on Wednesday also dismissed the Russian Defense Ministry’s statement on troop retreat.
“So yesterday, the Russian government said it was withdrawing troops from the border with Ukraine... But we now know it was false,” the senior official said, without offering details or providing evidence.
While the US has publicly acknowledged Russia’s recent commitment to diplomatic dialogue, the official voiced suspicions as to whether finding a path out of the conflict verbally is the Kremlin’s true goal, and claimed the Russian army is “privately mobilizing for war,” with the intention to “launch a false pretext at any moment.”