Russia has deployed up to 7,000 additional troops on the border with Ukraine, some of whom arrived yesterday, a senior White House official was quoted as saying by AFP.
The agency notes that the statement came after Moscow announced it had begun a partial withdrawal of its forces from the area.
“On Wednesday, the Russians announced that they were withdrawing troops from the border with Ukraine… Now we know this is a lie. In fact, we have already confirmed that Russia has increased its presence along the border with Ukraine by up to 7,000 troops, some of which arrived on Wednesday,” said the US presidency source, who requested anonymity.
“Russia says it wants to find a diplomatic solution, but its actions suggest otherwise. We hope it changes direction before a catastrophic and destructive war begins,” the White House spokesman said. He warned that Moscow could carry out an operation “at any time” to serve as a pretext for invading Ukraine.
It is possible that this pretext will take various forms, such as a provocation in Donbas or a false entry of Ukrainian forces into Russian territory, the anonymous source suggested.
US Vice President Kamala Harris will attend the Munich Security Conference later this week and will have a number of meetings on the sidelines of the forum, the White House spokesman said. On Friday, Harris will hold talks with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and the leaders of the Baltic states, and the next day with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“This will be a real opportunity to emphasize our commitment to Ukraine‘s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
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