Russian authorities said this week that they are taking some troops away from the border with Ukraine. According to the United States, none of this is true and seven thousand troops have just joined. There is no question of a Russian invasion yet, but there is more and more talk of speculation.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced that a number of army units were being withdrawn around Ukraine and released footage showing tanks and other army vehicles leaving. However, that news could not be independently verified. Although it was clear that it was a small part of the Russian force involved in the exercises in Ukraine, the exact number was not known.
Internationally, that assertion of the Russians already led to criticism. British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said she believes a Russian incursion of Ukraine is off the track only after full withdrawal. NATO and Germany said on Wednesday they did not detect anything resembling a withdrawal of Russian troops. According to NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg, it seemed that Russia is continuing with the military build-up.
A senior White House official said on Wednesday that not only is nothing true of the Russian claim, but also that seven thousand additional troops have even joined the border with Ukraine. “All the intelligence we have shows that they are wrongly talking about de-escalation, while secretly mobilizing for war,” the official told CNN. The official spoke on the basis of anonymity.
US President Joe Biden estimated the number of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine on Tuesday at 150,000.