According to U.S. and U.K. officials, Russian forces are not withdrawing from Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. Instead, troops are simply being redeployed.
“[A]ny movement of Russian forces from around Kyiv is a redeployment, not a withdrawal, and the world should be prepared for a major offensive against other areas of Ukraine,” a U.S. official told Fox News’ Mark Meredith on Tuesday.
“No one should be fooled by Russia’s announcements,” the official said. “It also does not mean the threat to Kyiv is over. Russia has failed in its objective of capturing Kyiv, and failed in its objective of subjugating all of Ukraine, but it can still inflict massive brutality on the country, including Kyiv.”
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin previously announced that Russia had decided to “to fundamentally cut back military activity in the direction of Kyiv and Chernihiv” following peace negotiations in Turkey.
“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,” Fomin said, according to the New York Post.
Fox News reported that Russia claimed the move was being made to “increase mutual trust.”
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.”
“We’ll see if they follow through [on] what they’re suggesting. There are negotiations that continued today, one in Turkey and others,” President Biden said in response. “I had a meeting with the heads of state of four allies in NATO — France, Germany, the United States and Great Britain — and there seems to be a consensus that let’s just see what they have to offer.”
Leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy are also urging the West to remain vigilant.
“They agreed there could be no relaxation of Western resolve until the horror inflicted on Ukraine is over,” they said, according to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office.
This comes at a time the Pentagon is warning that the threat to Kyiv is far from over.
“We are not — and nobody should be — fooling ourselves by the Kremlin’s recent claim that it will suddenly just reduce attacks near Kyiv,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said. “It does not mean that the threat to Kyiv is over. [Russia is] still inflicting massive brutality on the country, including on Kyiv even today, and continued airstrikes.”