The U.S. Government has characterised Russia’s announcement that it had partially withdrawn troops to deescalate the Ukraine crisis as false.
In the last several days, Russia had increased its presence along the Ukrainian border by as many as 7,000 troops “with some arriving as recently as today,’’ a high-ranking White House official said Wednesday evening.
The U.S. now knew Russia’s announcement of a partial withdrawal was “false,’’ the official said in a briefing to journalists in Washington.
Moscow had expressed openness to a diplomatic solution in recent days.
“But every indication we have now is they mean only to publicly offer to talk and then claim about deescalation while privately mobilising for war,’’ the official said.
There was also further information that Russia could “launch a false pretext at any moment to justify an invasion of Ukraine,” he said, citing a potential provocation in the eastern Ukrainian Donbas region as an example.
There could also be more Russian false claims including baseless accusations that the U.S. and Ukraine were developing “biological or chemical weapons,’’ the official said.
It is unclear what form the pretext could take “but we hope the world is ready,’’ he said.
“No one should take these claims at face value,’’ he said.