Russia Says It Is Pulling Back Troops From Ukraine Border
Russia announced Tuesday that it would be withdrawing some troops from the Russia-Ukraine border. Troops were seen returning to their bases after completing military drills near Ukraine. The news comes after yesterday’s report from the Pentagon that said Russia had increased troops along the border.
“We want to resolve this question right now. In the nearest future, in the course of the negotiating process, with peaceful means,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said in the press conference in Moscow Tuesday morning. “We will strive to agree on the issues which have been put forward by us using the diplomatic path.”
Russia’s key goal of blocking Ukraine and other former Soviet countries from joining NATO has not been fulfilled. Another goal includes stopping NATO from distributing weapons to Ukraine. The U.S. and NATO refused those demands.
While Putin said he does not want war, NATO and Western governments said they don’t see Russia’s move as a sign of de-escalation. Ukraine also remains dubious of Russia’s movements.
“Russia constantly makes various statements,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said. “That’s why we have the rule: We won’t believe when we hear, we’ll believe when we see. When we see troops pulling out, we’ll believe in de-escalation.”
Russia did not announce any details about the removal of troops from the border. Fear of invasion built after Russia placed more than 130,000 troops near Ukraine. Russia said it has no plans to invade Ukraine, but Western intelligence has warned of an impending invasion.
“The path for diplomacy remains available if Russia chooses to engage constructively,” White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “However, we are clear-eyed about the prospects of that, given the steps Russia is taking on the ground in plain sight.”