Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Wednesday he had seen no evidence of a withdrawal of Russian troops from the borders of son country, claiming that Moscow was simply a rotation of forces.
“We see small rotations. I would not like call these rotations the withdrawal of forces by Russia. You can’t say that,” he said. in TV commentaries.
“We don’t see any change.”
Zelensky also swore that son country would stand against any invasion as NATO warned it did not see sign for Russia to withdraw its forces.
The president watched the troops train with some of their new Anti-tank weapons supplied by the West on a range near Rivne, to the west of the capital.
Then he went to the front line port city of Mariupol, and delivered a speech on what he had declared the “Day of Unity”, wearing a military- style olive green coat and resistance to wishes.
“We are not afraid of forecast, we are not afraid of anyone, of any enemies”, Zelenskyy said. “We will defend ourselves.”
“We have wonderful and powerful armed forces,” he said. “We have excellent diplomats, volunteer forces and national resistance forces throughout Ukraine.
“The force to protect us. Protect your land. Enough force not to give in to any provocation.”
The demonstration of Contrasting Ukrainian firepower and rhetoric with pictures on Russian state media thaton said show Moscow forces end major exercise in Occupied Crimea.
In Rivne, missiles pounded targets and armored vehicles maneuvered and pulled on the yellowing heath, while in Hundreds of Kiev of civilians marched in a stadium with a standard national banner.
The day of Unit screens came as the Kremlin called for “serious negotiations” with Washington and European leaders pushed hard for a diplomatic solution to the crisis.
But NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg who hosted a meeting of the covenant defense ministers in Brussels, dismissed suggestions that the menace on the frontier had diminished.
He said the covenant would buttress up its eastern defenses with forward deployments in Member States bordering Ukraine.
“Moscow has made this clear that he is ready to challenge the fundamental principles that underpin our security for decades and to do so in using force,” he said.
“I regret to say that this is the new Ordinary in Europe.”
And on reported Russian troop movements, he said: “So far we don’t see any sign of de-escalation on floor; no withdrawal of troops or equipment.
“Russia maintains a huge invasion force Ready to attack with high-end capabilities from Crimea to Belarus. »
And the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told ABC News, “What we’re seeing is not a significant setback.”
– ‘Signals give us hope’ –
Russia is huge build-up of troops, missiles and warships around Ukraine are being touted as Europe’s worst security crisis since the Cold War.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called on Ukraine to be banned from suing son ambition to join NATO and wants to redraw the security map of Eastern Europe, rolling back Western influence.
But, supported by a menace of crippling US and EU economic sanctions, Western leaders are pushing for a negotiated settlement, and Moscow has signaled that it start draw strength back.
In the latest Phone move, on wednesday russian defense the ministry said military drills in Crimea — a Ukrainian region annexed Moscow in 2014 – was over and troops were returning to their garrisons.
washington asked more verifiable evidence of de-escalation, but US President Joe Biden has nonetheless promised to push for a diplomatic solution.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov welcomed this, telling reporters: “It is positive that the American president is also noting that he was ready to start serious negotiations. »
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht arriving at the NATO talks, reports said of a partial withdrawal from Russia “are signals that at least give us hope. But it is important toobserver closely if these words are followed by deeds.”
EU leaders, already collected in Brussels for a summit with their African counterparts, must now hold impromptu crisis talks on Russia and Ukraine on Thusday.
Zelenskyy played down the threats of an immediate Russian invasion but attempts to rally son people with the day of Celebrations of unity under the blue and gold banner of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, after the exercises in Rivne, he traveled to Mariupol, a frontline port city near an escape region held by Russian-backed separatists.
The European Union Ambassador to Ukraine, Matti Maasikas, as well as with German, Estonian, Polish and Spanish envoys visited Mariupol with President in solidarity.
Masikas also said he raised the Ukrainian flag alongside the EU one at son embassy, adding: “Not sure it’s entirely according to the rules but these are extraordinary times.”
– Rich Yields –
In other sign of Most of Ukraine powerful figures coming together, some rich business leaders who had been invited to come back for the country announced their return.
Ukraine’s richest man, 55year-old billionaire industrialist Rinat Akmetov, who was born in Donetsk in a area now held by separatists, was in Mariupol.
“We keep building, we keep investing,” he said, promising that son company would raise wages and support a local university.
On Tuesday, Ukraine said websites of the ministry of defense and the armed forces of the country as well as two banks had been hit by a cyberattack of the kind that American intelligence fears precedes a Russian attack.
“It cannot be ruled out that the aggressor resorts to dirty tours”, said the Ukrainian communications watchdog. in reference to Russia.
Peskov denied that Moscow had role in cyber aggression. “We dont do know whatever. As expected, Ukraine continues to blame Russia for everything,” he said.