Russia has made Two overtures to ease tensions around Ukraine: Report of backsliding of troops near son neighbor and welcome talks with the west. But the United States and its allies said they needed proof of troop movements, claiming that the menace of a Russian invasion always occupies a place important.
For the second Tuesday, there were signs of hope that Europe can avoid war following weeks of escalating East-West tensions as Moscow musters around 150,000 troops on three sides of Ukraine and held massive military drills. Those moves led to dire warnings from Washington, London and other European capitals that Russia was preparing to roll in Ukraine.
But the tenor changed this week. President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday that Russia will not want the war and would rely on negotiations in its efforts to eliminate all chance that Ukraine could one daytime join NATO – son key demand in crisis. At the same time, he has no commit has a full withdrawal, saying that Russia next moves in the impasse will depend on how the situation is changing.
Russia also offered some details of withdrawal, and President Joe Biden said US officials had not verified Russia’s claim. He promised that the United States give diplomacy “every chance”, but he adopted a ton skeptical about Moscow intentions.
“Two paths are still open,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “But let there be no doubt: if Russia makes this breach by invading Ukraine, responsible nations around the world will not hesitate to answer. If we can’t stand for freedom where it is risk today we will surely pay more price tomorrow.”
Even in the middle of the lights of hope, Biden said 150,000 Russian forces are now massed near Ukraine and in neighboring Belarus – an increase from an earlier US estimate of 130,000 troops.
Russia’s assertion that it withdrew back the troops “would be good, but we haven’t verified that yet,” Biden said. “Indeed, our analysts indicate that they remain many in a threatening position.
Russia has denied having invasion plans. He wants the West to keep Ukraine and the others former Soviet nations out of NATO, halt weapons deployments near Russian borders and roll back Eastern European forces.
The United States and its allies flatly rejected these demands, but offered to engage in talks with Russia on ways to enhance security in Europe.
Speaking after meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Putin says the West has agreed to discuss a ban on deployment of missiles in Europe, restrictions on military exercises and other confidences-building measures – problems that Moscow has posed on the table years ago.
He said Russia was willing to discuss “certain of these elements” but added that he would only in combination “with the main problems that are of Paramount importance for us.”
While Scholz reiterated that NATO’s eastward expansion “is not on agenda – everyone knows that very well,” Putin retorted that such assurances would not appease Moscow.
“They tell us this wonça will not happen tomorrow,” Putin said. “Well, when will that happen? The day after tomorrow? What difference does it make for us in the historical point of view? Nothing.”
Scholz also says diplomatic options are “far from exhausted”, and he praised the announcement of a troop withdrawal as “good signaladding: “We hope that more will be follow.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense released images of tanks and howitzers driving on the railway platforms and more tanks driving through snowy fields. He did not reveal where or when the footage was taken or where vehicles were heading, other than “towards places of permanent deployment.
Ukraine expressed son skepticism.
“We won’t believe when we hear, we will believe when we see,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
On Wednesday, Russia said military drills in The Crimea annexed to Moscow had come to an end and soldiers returned to their garrisons a day later announced a first withdrawal of troops from Ukrainian borders.
“Units of the Southern Military Region, having completed their participation in tactical exercises, are moving to their permanent deployment points”, Moscow defense the ministry said in a statement, as state television showed footage of military units crossing a bridge connecting the Russian-controlled peninsula to the mainland. The statement said tanks, infantry vehicles and the artillery left the Crimea by rail.
Western allies were also skeptical of that of Moscow announcement of a withdrawal of troops from the Ukrainian border. Germany and Spain expressed concern, saying they need proof that the Russian troops are indeed outside neighboring borders. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock gave a cautious response to a announcement of Russia on a partial withdrawal of troops from areas close to the Ukrainian border.
“Each authentic step defusing the situation is a reason for hope,” said Baerbock on Tuesday during a visit to Spain. the announcements from Russian side need to be checked carefully, added. His Spanish counterpart, José Manuel Albares, said that if the move Is it that result in a Russian retreat would be “excellent news.”
western military analysts said they needed more information to judge the importance of the latest troop movements.
“One should maintain a air of cautious skepticism,” said Henry Boyd of the institute international for Strategic Studies in London. “There have been past differences between Russia official announcements and his actions on floor.”
Many of russian forces in Belarus for exercises due at the end on Sunday came thousands of miles away in Central and Eastern Russia military districts.
Rob Lee, a military analyst specialization in Russia, said the announcement was “potentially good news”, but it was important to see where those forces went after the climax of joint exercises between Russia and Belarus on Sunday.
” That much remains nearby, Russia will have the ability to carry out a significant escalation, but perhaps not on at short notice,” he told Reuters.
NATO chief hails Russia’s signals in the past two days he may be looking for a diplomatic solution but urged Moscow to demonstrate its willingness to act.
“There are signs from Moscow that diplomacy should Carry on. It gives reasons for cautious optimism. But so far we haven’t seen anything sign of de-escalation on the floor of russian side”, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters. He said that Russia left military equipment behind after the exercises, creating the potential for force to regroup.
So far Britain has seen no evidence that Russia is withdrawing its troops from positions near the Ukrainian border, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said. on Wednesday.
“We have not seen any evidence at this time of this withdrawal,” Wallace told Times Radio. “The physical observations we see show the opposite of some of the recent rhetoric to come out the Kremlin,” Wallace told the BBC. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also said there were signs of a diplomatic opening but “the information we are seeing today is still not encouraging”.
During this time, a series of cyberattacks hit out the sites web of the Ukrainian army, the defense ministry and the big banks. There was no evidence that the relatively low level of denialof- service attacks can be a smokescreen for more serious cyber mischief. White House Press secretary Jen Psaki said the United States has not yet determined who has been behind the attacks.
Despite the worst East-West tensions in decades, few Russians expect a war. In a village in Belgorod in Russia regionabout 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Ukrainian border, locals carried on with life as usual, even if more military personnel passed through the streets of the village.
“We are really on the border, on really has parents here and there, everyone has someone” on Ukrainian side, said villager Lyudmila Nechvolod. “No one wants war.
Russian lawmakers have urged Putin to recognize rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine as independent states. The State Duma, Russia’s bottom housevoted to submit an appeal to Putin at this effect.
Putin said the request reflects Russia’s public sympathy for suffering of people trap in the dispute in eastern Ukraine who killed over 14,000 since 2014. He noted, however, that Russia continues to believe in a 2015 peace deal brokered by France and Germany should serve as main vehicle for a colony of the separatist conflict.