The United States did not believe in the withdrawal of Russian troops from the border with Ukraine and set a new date for the invasion on February 20. New dates for the start of the “Russian-Ukrainian war” called the American edition of Politico, citing analysts.
The newspaper believes that the previously announced date of February 16 “diverted attention” from more important time frames. Michael Kofman, an expert on the Russian armed forces, pointed out that it is the actions of the Russian troops after the end of the joint exercises with Belarus on February 20 that will help to understand the true intentions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The publication also said that it was at this time that the Beijing Olympics and the Munich Security Conference ended. “The beginning of the invasion at a time when American dignitaries are in Europe, and the head of Ukraine [Владимир Зеленский] located outside the country, it can turn out to be an absolute humiliation – a kind of geopolitical trolling, ”they say in the West.
At the same time, the State Department said that Washington had never called the exact timing of the start of the escalation. According to State Department spokesman Ned Price, the failed invasion does not mean that US intelligence received incorrect data.
I don’t think you heard us from any podium pointing out the exact day of the “invasion”. For a while you hear us trying to get across that Russia has created the ability to attack at any time.
Ned PriceUS State Department official
The United States announced the continuation of the pulling of Russian troops to the border with Ukraine
The United States rejected Russian reports of a troop withdrawal and said that Moscow was not going to de-escalate the situation. The State Department said that Washington’s concerns about Ukraine have not diminished one iota and continue to grow.
In fact, we have seen exactly the opposite: in recent weeks and even days, Russian forces on the border have become more, not less
Ned PriceUS State Department official
The representative of the department expressed confidence in the need to confirm the video of the Russian Ministry of Defense on the withdrawal of Russian military equipment from the borders with Ukraine. “This must be confirmed, there are many ways to do this,” the diplomat stressed.
Information about the increase in the number of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border was shared by Bloomberg. The agency, citing American officials, announced the arrival of another 7,000 Russian troops to the border with Ukraine.
All the signs that we see indicate that they intend only to publicly offer to talk and declare de-escalation, and privately mobilize for war
US President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreed in a telephone conversation that there was no significant reduction in the number of Russian troops near Ukraine. However, politicians welcomed Russia’s statements about its readiness for diplomatic efforts around Ukraine and stressed the importance of implementing the Minsk agreements.
European countries insist that the threat of invasion remains
An appeal to Moscow to prove in practice the intention to withdraw troops from the border was also addressed in Brussels. The official representative of the foreign policy service of the European Union, Peter Stano, in response to reports of the redeployment of Russian military units and their return to their bases, said that the EU took note of the statements of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. However, the EU will closely monitor how the withdrawal will be implemented in practice.
For the EU, de-escalation by Russia, which has caused the current security crisis, has always been a key priority. The real and implemented withdrawal of troops from the Ukrainian border is an important part of the de-escalation
Peter Stanoofficial representative of the EU Foreign Service
At the same time, the head of British military intelligence, General Jim Hockenhull, accused Russia of contradicting its statements, while pulling troops to the borders with Ukraine.
Contrary to its claims, Russia continues to build up its military capabilities near the Ukrainian border, which includes positions for additional armored vehicles, as well as helicopters and field hospitals, which are heading towards the Ukrainian border.
Jim Hockenhullhead of British military intelligence
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also said an invasion of Ukraine was still “very likely”. According to her, Moscow will be able to dispel the fears of Western countries only after a full-scale withdrawal of Russian troops from the borders of the neighboring republic.
In turn, NATO refused to predict the future of the situation in Ukraine. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he did not know how the situation around Ukraine would develop further, and whether Russia was going to invade its territory or not.
At the same time, despite the lack of understanding of Russia’s intentions, Stoltenberg promised that the alliance “will denounce the actions of the Russian Federation.” He also promised to strengthen the alliance’s defenses and deploy new NATO battlegroups on the eastern flank, in particular in Romania.
Russia reacted to the new proposed date for the invasion of Ukraine
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called Politico’s publication fake. He noted that many dates with the exact hours of the invasion had already been announced earlier, but all of them ended up being stuffed.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in response to a question about the possible completion of the escalation after February 20, indicated that Russian-Belarusian military exercises were ending at that time. The minister also noted that the aggravation of the situation in Ukraine occurs only “in the brains of the West” – local media and a number of politicians – and not in reality.
Elizabeth Truss, who recently visited Moscow yesterday, I think, said that, in her estimation, the escalation of tension could continue for months. Maybe they are planning until the next cold weather, I don’t know. Therefore, the question is not for us
Sergei LavrovMinister of Foreign Affairs of Russia
Earlier, Russia’s permanent representative to the European Union (EU), Vladimir Chizhov, had already denied reports of a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday, February 16. “Next week, or next week, or next month, escalation is also not expected. Wars in Europe rarely start on Wednesday,” the permanent representative assured.
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