As the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has announced his country would “partially pull back troops” from the Ukrainian border, the Estonian prime minister, Kaja Kallas, remains sceptical and said in an interview with the CNN that we haven’t seen any real de-escalation yet.
“Well, we believe it when we see it, but we don’t see it yet,” Kallas said of the supposed Russian pullback. “Russia has done this military buildup around Ukraine already [for] months. They had the military exercise called ‘Zapad’. Zapad means the West in Russian and they actually exercised how to attack the West.”
“It has been going on for months, so nothing happens in a few days or a few hours. And we haven’t seen any real de-escalation yet,” she told the CNN.
Putin on 15 February said Russia had decided “to partially pull back troops” from the Ukrainian border and the Russian defence ministry said some forces bordering Ukraine were being sent back to their garrisons. Russia has reportedly mobilised over 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border and Putin has tasked his diplomats with securing US and NATO agreement to his demands for a new security order in the Eastern and Central Europe.
The US president, Joe Biden, said on 15 February that American officials had not verified Russia’s claim that it was pulling some troops back from Ukraine’s border, saying that Russian forces remain “very much in a threatening position” and that “an invasion remains distinctly possible”.
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