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Russia is adding troops near Ukraine, despite calls for cuts

KIEV – How Ukrainians waved flags at the show disobedience to the terrible Russian invasionThe United States said Moscow had added as many as 7,000 troops to its forces along the tense border, a warning that contradicted the Kremlin’s claims to withdraw troops.

A Russian invasion of Ukraine did not materialize on Wednesday, as the West initially feared, watching Russia gather about 150,000 troops from three sides of Ukraine. But after several positive signals from Moscow that seemed to ease tensions earlier in the week, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction again.

At the heart of the crisis are Russia’s demands that the West not allow Ukraine and other former Soviet countries to leave NATO, stop the deployment of weapons near Russia’s borders and withdraw forces from Eastern Europe. The United States and its allies have categorically rejected these demands, but have offered to enter into talks with Russia on ways to strengthen security in Europe.

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Russia has repeatedly said this week that some forces are retreating to their bases, but it has provided little detail that would allow for an independent assessment, and Western leaders were quick to question those statements.

On Wednesday, the United States went even further in destroying Russian claims, saying new forces were being added. Western allies argued that the threat of attack was strong,

Maxar Technologies, a commercial satellite imagery company that has watched Russian troops build up, said military activity near Ukraine continued to increase, including a new pontoon bridge and a new field hospital in Belarus. It also said that some forces had left the airfield in the country, an ally of Russia, but it is unclear where they were headed.

A high-ranking official of the US administration said some forces had arrived only recently and that there has been a marked increase in false statements by Russians that the Kremlin may use as a pretext for invasion. The official said the allegations included reports of unmarked graves of civilians allegedly killed by Ukrainian forces, allegations that the United States and Ukraine were developing biological or chemical weapons, and allegations that the West was sending guerrillas to kill Ukrainians.

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The official was not allowed to speak publicly about confidential transactions and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The official did not provide basic evidence for the allegations.

“We haven’t seen a setback,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told ABC News. “Russian President Vladimir Putin can pull the trigger. He can pull it today. He can pull it tomorrow. He can push it next week. He has the strength if he wants to resume aggression against Ukraine.”

Asked why Russians say they leave if government intelligence, commercial satellite photos and social media videos don’t show it, State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “It’s a Russian collection of games to publicly paint a picture … while they do the opposite ”.

The Minister of Defense of the United Kingdom Ben Wallace also said that in recent days there has been an increase in the military to 7,000 people.

“We have seen the opposite of some statements,” he said in Brussels. “We are going to judge Russia by their actions, and at the moment the increase in troops continues.”

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said the alliance had seen “no conclusions from Russian troops”.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky also rejected Russia’s claims.

“What is it? Rotations, departures, returns again,” he said during a visit to the southeastern city of Mariupol. “It’s too early to rejoice.”

The Ukrainian leader, who has repeatedly sought to project peace and strength during the crisis, has declared Wednesday a day of “national unity” – a day seen as an opportunity to launch an invasion.

Across the country, Ukrainians of all ages waved flags in the streets and from apartment windows.

Hundreds of people unfurled a 200-meter (650-foot) flag at Kiev’s Olympic Stadium, and another was hoisted in the center of the capital’s shopping center.

In a government-controlled part of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, where Russian-backed separatists have been at war with Ukrainian troops since 2014, residents pulled another huge flag across the street.

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“This event, so many people united around the Ukrainian flag, will show that we stand for a united Ukraine,” – said resident Elena Tkacheva.

The 2015 agreement, mediated by France and Germany, helped stop the worst fighting in eastern Ukraine, but implementation stalled. The agreement, known as the Minsk Agreement, offers broad self-government to the separatist territories, and many in Ukraine are outraged.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian government said in a TV interview that Zelensky would consider holding a referendum on the Minsk agreement “unless there are other options or tools.” But Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Verashchuk said she did not know that such an idea was being seriously discussed.

The annual meeting of the UN Security Council on the Minsk agreement is scheduled for Thursday. Russia, which is chairing the council this month, will chair the meeting. At last year’s Council meeting, Russia clashed with the United States and its Western allies over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and a similar confrontation is expected this year.

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Putin has signaled what he wants a peaceful way out of the crisis. His country has repeatedly complained that the United States and NATO have not responded satisfactorily in writing to its security concerns. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia was in the final stages of preparing its official response to the West.

“After that, a schedule of further steps will be developed,” she said on state television.

It turned out that this is another sign that the Kremlin is set to maintain pressure for a while.

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Isachenko told Moscow and Madhani of Washington. Lorne Cook in Brussels, Dasha Litvinova in Moscow, Angela Charlton in Paris, Jill Lawless in London, Edith M. Lederer at the UN, Frank Jordans in Berlin and Ellen Nickmeyer, Colin Long and Zick Miller in Washington contributed to this case.

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___

The AP covers the Ukrainian crisis in more detail: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

Reported by Source link

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Russia is adding troops near Ukraine, despite calls for cuts

KIEV – How Ukrainians waved flags at the show disobedience to the terrible Russian invasionThe United States said Moscow had added as many as 7,000 troops to its forces along the tense border, a warning that contradicted the Kremlin’s claims to withdraw troops.

A Russian invasion of Ukraine did not materialize on Wednesday, as the West initially feared, watching Russia gather about 150,000 troops from three sides of Ukraine. But after several positive signals from Moscow that seemed to ease tensions earlier in the week, the pendulum swung in the opposite direction again.

At the heart of the crisis are Russia’s demands that the West not allow Ukraine and other former Soviet countries to leave NATO, stop the deployment of weapons near Russia’s borders and withdraw forces from Eastern Europe. The United States and its allies have categorically rejected these demands, but have offered to enter into talks with Russia on ways to strengthen security in Europe.

Advertising

Russia has repeatedly said this week that some forces are retreating to their bases, but it has provided little detail that would allow for an independent assessment, and Western leaders were quick to question those statements.

On Wednesday, the United States went even further in destroying Russian claims, saying new forces were being added. Western allies argued that the threat of attack was strong,

Maxar Technologies, a commercial satellite imagery company that has watched Russian troops build up, said military activity near Ukraine continued to increase, including a new pontoon bridge and a new field hospital in Belarus. It also said that some forces had left the airfield in the country, an ally of Russia, but it is unclear where they were headed.

A high-ranking official of the US administration said some forces had arrived only recently and that there has been a marked increase in false statements by Russians that the Kremlin may use as a pretext for invasion. The official said the allegations included reports of unmarked graves of civilians allegedly killed by Ukrainian forces, allegations that the United States and Ukraine were developing biological or chemical weapons, and allegations that the West was sending guerrillas to kill Ukrainians.

Advertising

The official was not allowed to speak publicly about confidential transactions and spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The official did not provide basic evidence for the allegations.

“We haven’t seen a setback,” US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken told ABC News. “Russian President Vladimir Putin can pull the trigger. He can pull it today. He can pull it tomorrow. He can push it next week. He has the strength if he wants to resume aggression against Ukraine.”

Asked why Russians say they leave if government intelligence, commercial satellite photos and social media videos don’t show it, State Department spokesman Ned Price said: “It’s a Russian collection of games to publicly paint a picture … while they do the opposite ”.

The Minister of Defense of the United Kingdom Ben Wallace also said that in recent days there has been an increase in the military to 7,000 people.

“We have seen the opposite of some statements,” he said in Brussels. “We are going to judge Russia by their actions, and at the moment the increase in troops continues.”

Advertising

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also said the alliance had seen “no conclusions from Russian troops”.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky also rejected Russia’s claims.

“What is it? Rotations, departures, returns again,” he said during a visit to the southeastern city of Mariupol. “It’s too early to rejoice.”

The Ukrainian leader, who has repeatedly sought to project peace and strength during the crisis, has declared Wednesday a day of “national unity” – a day seen as an opportunity to launch an invasion.

Across the country, Ukrainians of all ages waved flags in the streets and from apartment windows.

Hundreds of people unfurled a 200-meter (650-foot) flag at Kiev’s Olympic Stadium, and another was hoisted in the center of the capital’s shopping center.

In a government-controlled part of Ukraine’s eastern Luhansk region, where Russian-backed separatists have been at war with Ukrainian troops since 2014, residents pulled another huge flag across the street.

Advertising

“This event, so many people united around the Ukrainian flag, will show that we stand for a united Ukraine,” – said resident Elena Tkacheva.

The 2015 agreement, mediated by France and Germany, helped stop the worst fighting in eastern Ukraine, but implementation stalled. The agreement, known as the Minsk Agreement, offers broad self-government to the separatist territories, and many in Ukraine are outraged.

A spokesman for the Ukrainian government said in a TV interview that Zelensky would consider holding a referendum on the Minsk agreement “unless there are other options or tools.” But Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Verashchuk said she did not know that such an idea was being seriously discussed.

The annual meeting of the UN Security Council on the Minsk agreement is scheduled for Thursday. Russia, which is chairing the council this month, will chair the meeting. At last year’s Council meeting, Russia clashed with the United States and its Western allies over the conflict in eastern Ukraine, and a similar confrontation is expected this year.

Advertising

Putin has signaled what he wants a peaceful way out of the crisis. His country has repeatedly complained that the United States and NATO have not responded satisfactorily in writing to its security concerns. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that Russia was in the final stages of preparing its official response to the West.

“After that, a schedule of further steps will be developed,” she said on state television.

It turned out that this is another sign that the Kremlin is set to maintain pressure for a while.

___

Isachenko told Moscow and Madhani of Washington. Lorne Cook in Brussels, Dasha Litvinova in Moscow, Angela Charlton in Paris, Jill Lawless in London, Edith M. Lederer at the UN, Frank Jordans in Berlin and Ellen Nickmeyer, Colin Long and Zick Miller in Washington contributed to this case.

Advertising

___

The AP covers the Ukrainian crisis in more detail: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed without permission.

Reported by Source link

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