Ukraine Reacts To Russia Announcing Troop Withdrawal: ‘When We See A Withdrawal, We Will Believe In A De-Escalation’
Russia announced on Tuesday morning that they will be pulling some of their troops stationed near the Ukrainian border, which has led to “cautious optimism” by NATO and Ukrainian leaders as concerns continue to grow over a possible invasion led by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO chief executive, pointed out that the move is a sign of cautious optimism after several weeks of rising tensions.
“There are signs from Moscow that diplomacy should continue. This gives grounds for cautious optimism. But so far we have not seen any sign of de-escalation on the ground from the Russian side,” the NATO chief executive said Tuesday morning.
Dmytro Kuleba, the defense minister for Ukraine, commented on the announcement of the troop withdrawal by saying, “We have a rule: don’t believe what you hear, believe what you see. When we see a withdrawal, we will believe in a de-escalation.”
The Wall Street Journal announced that the troop pullout will still leave over 120,000 Russian troops in the area.
“Russia’s Defense Ministry said it had pulled back some troops from near Ukraine while noting that large-scale military maneuvers were continuing and Western officials warned that combat units were moving into forward positions,” it went on to say.
“The announced pullback scales down a total force that is still estimated to number more than 120,000, and came amid a new round of shuttle diplomacy aimed at defusing the crisis. Moscow has warned of unspecified consequences if the U.S. and its allies reject its security demands,” the report said.
A report put out by the BBC issued a warning that there may not be anything new concerning troop movements.
“We have always said that after the exercises are over… troops would return to their permanent bases. There’s nothing new here. This is a usual process,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said to reporters, according to a report from the BBC.
The new reports also follow discussions between Putin and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who traveled to Russia for negotiations. Scholz’s trip to Russia followed his visit to Kyiv on Monday to negotiate a diplomatic resolution to tensions between the two countries.
U.S. Department of State Antony Blinken shared on Monday that the U.S. “is in the process of temporarily relocating our Embassy operations in Ukraine from our Embassy in Kyiv to Lviv due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces.”
“In the meantime, I have ordered these measures for one reason – the safety of our staff – and we strongly urge any remaining U.S. citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately,” Blinken stated in conclusion, posting up a link to an online form those “seeking emergency assistance in Ukraine” should use, after which “the State Department will follow-up, as appropriate.”
Just in: Blinken announces that the US “is in the process of temporarily relocating our Embassy operations in Ukraine from our Embassy in Kyiv to Lviv due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces.” Kyiv embassy closing for now. pic.twitter.com/5VHTumr2cX
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) February 14, 2022
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on Monday that he expected Russia to attack his country this week, according to reports from CNN.
However, after those remarks were made, Ukrainian officials came out and stated that the comment was meant to be “ironic.”
CNN has been told by Mykhailo Podoliak, a Presidential adviser, that Zelensky was being ironic with his comment –> https://t.co/RtPtmZOnyf
— Kylie Atwood (@kylieatwood) February 14, 2022