On Wednesday, the United States and NATO have refused to accept the Russian claims of moving troops away from the border with Ukraine and said that Russia can invade Ukraine at any point in time. “Window of Russian invasion still remains open”, said White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki.
Not taking the Russian claims of de-escalation at face value, the US official added that there has always been a difference between what Russia says and what it does. “In recent days, Russia has added 7000 extra troops to the border. Now around 150000 troops remain amassed in a threatening way at the border”, she said.
Tune in for a briefing with Press Secretary Jen Psaki. https://t.co/OywpILwnO1— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 16, 2022
This is a day after Russia announced the end of the military drill near the Ukraine border in the Crimea peninsula and released a video of a train carrying military equipment across the Crimean Bridge. It declared that its military troops had begun returning back to their bases. Earlier in the day, Russia also mocked western media outlets for creating tensions in the entire world by speculating the dates of war between Russia and Ukraine.
The US in its statement reiterated that Russia had raised false flags by announcing de-escalation. It called the video posted by Russia fake and said that everyone should keep their eyes open. “We are seeking verifiable reduction of troops. We will know when we actually see it”, she added. When asked about the cyberattack in Ukraine that took down the govt websites, Psaki said that the US would continue the diplomacy as it was not immediately clear who was responsible.
Ukraine’s Defence Ministry, two national banks and armed forces faced a major cyberattack on Wednesday that disrupted the working of majorly important govt websites. “Russian responses to US security concerns have not yet been received but still we’ll continue the diplomacy”, she affirmed.
NATO’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg also said that there is no evidence of de-escalation and that Russia is increasing the number of troops at the border. He added that threat from Russia had become a new normal. Jens Stoltenberg further described it as the most serious security crisis in Europe since the end of the Cold War.
We face a crisis in European security. #Russia has made clear that it’s prepared to contest fundamental principles of our security by using force. #NATO Ministers decided to develop options to further strengthen deterrence & defence. pic.twitter.com/CoGZTZs7cs— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) February 16, 2022
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky backed NATO and informed BBC that no troop withdrawal was seen. As Ukraine marked the day of unity on Wednesday, President Zelensky declared the patriotic holiday in response to US intelligence reports that Russia could attack Ukraine on the same day.
Russia has constantly been saying that it had no intentions to invade Russia. Though Russia and Ukraine have deep cultural and historic ties, and both are a part of the former Soviet Union, Russia has asked in writing from the West to cease its expansion towards the east and never allow Ukraine to join NATO as it sees the union as a threat.