Biden and Scholz: No significant withdrawal of Russian troops from the borders of Ukraine
After a telephone conversation between U.S. President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the German government said that no significant withdrawal of Russian troops from the borders of Ukraine has been observed.
The Russian Defense Ministry claimed on Feb. 15 that some Russian troops were moving away from Ukraine, while military and naval exercises are proceeding in Belarus and the Black Sea.
But German Cabinet spokesman Steffen Hebestreit has since stressed that "maximum vigilance" is required, according to German broadcaster DW, saying that the threat of a further Russian invasion of Ukraine has not lessened.
Biden and Scholz were unanimous in their opinion that the situation in the region was extremely serious.
However, U.S. and German leaders welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin's statements about the need to continue diplomatic efforts to overcome the crisis.
Scholz and Biden agreed that it was important to hold a constructive dialogue on European security issues, the implementation of the Minsk agreements, and tomake progress in the Normandy format talks with the support of Germany and France.
Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine
On Feb. 11, the Reuters international news agency reported that U.S. President Joe Biden met his national security advisers in the White House Situation Room late on Feb. 10 to discuss Russia’s ongoing military buildup around Ukraine.
A source familiar with the meeting said that rhetoric from Moscow had hardened. Russia has sailed six warships into the Black Sea and added more military equipment to Belarus, leading U.S. officials to believe the crisis appears to be reaching a critical point.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has again said that the Ukrainian government has “everything under control.”
On Feb. 11, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the U.S. government “continue to see very troubling signs of Russian escalation, including new forces arriving at the Ukrainian border.”
He warned that Russia could launch an invasion at any time, including during the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Russia has deployed about 140,000 troops and equipment on the border with Ukraine.
While officially denying its intention to carry out a large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia continues to provide weapons and supplies to its proxy groups in non-government controlled regions of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.
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