On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry claimed that it was going to “radically” reduce troop presence near Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv and its northern city, Chernihiv, as a way to help peace talks move forward. Some members of the media, and even a member of Congress, took the proclamation as a sign that Russia was going to be retreating or withdrawing its troops completely from the region.
The Pentagon put the kibosh on that idea later in the day.
“There’s been a lot of reporting today on withdraws and, you know Russian decisions, and I think it’s really important that we put a little bit of into context,” Department of Defense Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters.
“Nobody should be fooling ourselves, by the Kremlin’s now-recent claim that it will suddenly just reduce military attacks near Kyiv, or any reports that it’s gonna withdraw all its forces,” Kirby added.
“We all should be prepared to watch for a major offensive against other areas of Ukraine,” he added.
Kirby also said, “The rapid advance to Kyiv in the initial days of the war showed very clearly for all of us that Kyiv and the capital city was a key objective for the Russians.”
“Russia has failed in its objective of capturing Kyiv, it’s failed in its objective of subjugating Ukraine, but they can still inflict massive brutality on the country, including in Kyiv,” he added.
The Daily Wire reported on Tuesday morning that Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin told the media that “Given that the talks on the preparation of an agreement on the neutrality and non-nuclear status of Ukraine have moved into a practical field … a decision has been made to radically, by several times, reduce the military activity in the areas of Kyiv and Chernihiv.”
Fox News also added that Russia’s government claimed the move was made specifically to “increase” trust between the two nations:
Russia’s deputy defense minister told reporters on Tuesday that Moscow has decided to “fundamentally cut back military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernihiv” in order to “increase mutual trust for future negotiations to agree and sign a peace deal with Ukraine.” The Ukrainian government also recognized the withdrawal of certain units of armed forces of the Russian Federation from the territories of Kyiv and Chernihiv blasts, warning that “At the same time, there is a high risk of the Russian occupiers attacking military and civilian infrastructure.”
In reaction to the news, Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) tweeted, “Synonym for ‘retreat.'”
Synonym for “retreat.” 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦 https://t.co/yYrtnGgwCM
— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) March 29, 2022
Kirby’s remarks can be seen here: