NATO sees no indications of Russian withdrawal

16 February 2022, 03:02 PM

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has urged Russia to prove it’s ready to pull its troops back from Ukraine’s borders, adding that the alliance is yet to see signs of Moscow pivoting to de-escalation, Reuters reported on Feb. 15.

“There are signs from Moscow that diplomacy should continue; this gives grounds for cautious optimism,” Stoltenberg said during a press briefing in Brussels.

“But so far we have not seen any sign of de-escalation on the ground from the Russian side.”

According to him, Moscow surrounded Ukraine with “a fighting force unprecedented since the Cold War.”

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“Everything is now in place for a new attack,” said the secretary general.

“But Russia still has time to step back from the brink, stop preparing for war and start working for a peaceful solution.”

He described the escalating military tensions between Ukraine and Russia as “the most serious security crisis we have faced in Europe for decades.”

On Feb. 15, Russian Defense Ministry claimed that some troops are moving away from Ukraine, while military and naval exercises are proceeding in Belarus and the Black Sea.

Currently, there are approximately 140,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine, from Russia, Belarus, and the temporarily occupied territories.

Western countries are concerned that the large-scale military exercises Moscow is conducting in occupied Crimea, Belarus, and the Black Sea could mean Russia gearing up for another invasion of Ukraine.

According to UK newspaper The Guardian, on Feb. 11 U.S. President Joe Biden briefed world leaders that Russian President Vladimir Putin had made the decision to invade Ukraine.

Earlier, CNN reported that the U.S. intelligence and national security apparatus intentionally focus on the worst-case scenarios of the current Russia-Ukraine conflict, in a bid to disrupt the Kremlin’s plans and deter it from further aggression.

The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Western media of a “large-scale misinformation campaign” that seeks to “plant the narrative of Moscow’s aggressive intentions.”

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