Kremlin might drag out escalation with Ukraine for months, – UK

On the eve of her two-day trip to Ukraine, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs Liz Truss cautioned against being lulled into a false sense of security by Russian claims that it is withdrawing its troops. She stated this in her commentary for The Telegraph on the eve of her two-day trip to Kyiv.

Foreign Secretary noted that he “litmus test” for NATO and “free democracies” to stand up to Russian aggression or risk emboldening the Kremlin and other adversaries in the future.

“We must not be lulled into a false sense of security by Russia claiming that some troops are returning to their barracks, while in fact, Russian military build-up shows no signs of slowing,” Truss noted. “There is currently no evidence the Russians are withdrawing from border regions near Ukraine,” she added.

We must have no illusions that Russia could drag this out much longer in a brazen ploy to spend weeks more – if not months – subverting Ukraine and challenging Western unity. This is a test of our mettle,” Truss stated.

According to the latest data, about 140,000 Russian troops are concentrated at the borders of Ukraine. Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense does not record the real withdrawal of Russian troops, as claimed by the Kremlin.

Read also: 140,000 Russian troops amassed at Ukraine’s borders, no signs of stand-down, – latest data from Kyiv

February 16, Russia’s defence ministry published footage of what it said were tanks, armored personnel carriers, and mobile artillery leaving the Crimean peninsula — which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014 — and returning to their bases.

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Earlier today, 100 Russian tanks, howitzers were recorded by OSCE SMM to be kept outside designated storage sites in Donbas.

 NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg ahead of the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers in Brussels underlined Alliance saw no signs of deescalation on Ukraine-Russia border.

“To be honest we react to the reality we have and we don’t see any withdrawal yet. We just heard about it,” Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky stated in his recent interview with BBC.