The much-needed respite may soon arrive in the crisis ongoing between Russia and Ukraine saw the announcement of a withdraw of Russian troops from the border areas. Russia announced the end of military exercises in the Crimea annexed to Moscow.
“The units of the southern military district, which have completed tactical exercises in the bases of the peninsula of Crimea and they are returning by train to their base, ”said the Russian Defense Ministry, quoted by Russian agencies even though the Kremlin did not specify the extent or timing of this withdrawal.
Ukraine crisis: cautious diplomacy on the withdrawal of the Russians
But the world diplomacy he is cautious about the withdrawal of Russian troops and the end of the crisis in Ukraine. NATO accused Russia of increasing the number of troops it amassed on the Ukrainian border, a day after Moscow said it had started withdrawing some of its military units.
Western leaders have warned that they still have to see evidence of withdrawal, after a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry announced yesterday that some units, having completed military exercises near the border, were already on the move. The Russian government released footage Wednesday showing military units returning to their permanent camps after completing the exercises. But no one is able to say that this is an authentic film. Russian officials also announced that the troops engaged in military exercises in the Belarus, north of Ukraine, would return to their permanent bases on February 20. However, Western leaders questioned Russia’s claims.
NATO defense ministers are meeting today in Brussels to discuss what the military alliance has called “the most serious security crisis we have faced in Europe for decades”. Speaking to reporters before the meeting on Wednesday, the head of NATO Jens Stoltenberg he said that “it remains to be seen if there is a Russian withdrawal”.
“So far, we haven’t seen any de-escalation on the territory. On the contrary, it appears that Russia continues its military rise, “Stoltenberg said, adding that Russia has” always moved forces back and forth, “so the footage showing the movement of forces and tanks” does not confirm a true withdrawal. “.
The Kremlin said NATO was “wrong” to say there is no evidence of Russian withdrawal from the border, Reuters reported, adding that President Vladimir Putin has a desire to negotiate diplomatically.
Meanwhile, the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson he told Sky News that “the information we are seeing today is not yet encouraging.”
“We have Russian field hospitals under construction near the Ukrainian border in Belarus, which can only be interpreted as preparation for an invasion,” Johnson said. Even for US President Joe Biden, there is no confirmation that Russia has withdrawn some of its military units from the Ukrainian border.
“We have not yet verified that Russian military units are returning to their bases. Indeed, our analysts indicate that they remain in a very threatening position, ”he said in a speech at the White House.
Basically, on the one hand, Russia claims to have itself withdrawn from the border with Ukraine, on the other, the United States says that an invasion is still possible, stressing that any use of force by Moscow would lead to “incredible human suffering” and thus urging Russia to choose a diplomatic path to resolve the question.
Moscow has repeatedly insisted that it has no plans to invade Ukraine, despite warnings from Western countries in the last days of ainvasion imminent.
What does Putin want from NATO
There Russia demands that of Ukraine he is never allowed to become a member of NATO, and he said he wants the organization to reduce its presence in Eastern Europe. Since 2002, Ukraine has been trying to join NATO, the most powerful military alliance in the world.
In fact, the situation on the border of Ukraine is part of one broader and longer-term issue. Moscow annexed Crimea, a peninsula in southern Ukraine, in 2014, and some 13,000 people in the eastern region of Ukraine Donbas they died in an ongoing conflict between government forces and pro-Russian separatists.