USA and UK: No signs Russia is moving troops away from Ukrainian border
Western countries do not see signs of withdrawal of Russian troops from the borders of Ukraine, which was announced by the Russian Ministry of Defense.
Statements from Moscow that the troops of the Southern and Western Military Districts, after completing their exercises, are being sent to places of their permanent deployment need to be verified, said US Permanent Representative to NATO Julian Smith.
Russia "made similar claims" about the de-escalation in December, but they turned out to be false, said Smith.
"When we checked, we found no signs [of withdrawal of troops]. And since then, we have only seen Russian forces moving in the opposite direction," she added.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in turn, said that intelligence data "are not encouraging."
Although Moscow has shown openness to discussions, "construction of field hospitals and the movement of extra forces closer to the border with Ukraine are suggesting preparations are being made for an invasion," Johnson said.
"You have got more battalion tactical groups being brought closer to the border," he added.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Russia is "constantly" various statements, but no one should believe them without seeing the situation with their own eyes. "When we see the withdrawal of troops, then we will believe in de-escalation," Kuleba said.
Analysts of the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) also did not see confirmation of the Russian Defense Ministry’s statements about the partial end of the exercises, which involved all Russian military districts and the Navy. According to CIT, there are no visible changes on the ground. The number of the Russian troops on the border with Ukraine, according to Western estimates, has reached 130 thousand.
"Those remaining echelons that were on the way, are all moving towards the border (and not away from it). Moreover, there are new reports that new units are on the way to the border, which can be confirmed by new videos showing cargo trains and data from the Russian Railways database," CIT said.