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State Department spokesman Ned Price said the U.S. had seen “more Russian forces, not fewer” along the Ukraine border.
Watch Prices’ remarks in the player above.
Asked why Russians would claim to be withdrawing when government intelligence, commercial satellite photos and social media videos showed no evidence of that, Price said: “This is the Russian playbook, to paint a picture publicly … while they do the opposite.”
This comes as there were no signs Wednesday of a promised pullback of Russian troops from Ukraine’s borders despite Kremlin declarations of a withdrawal.
While a feared Russian invasion of Ukraine on Wednesday did not materialize, the United States and its allies maintain that the threat remains strong, with Europe’s security and economic stability in the balance.
READ MORE: Biden draws a line on Ukraine, but how will Russia view his message?
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled he wants a peaceful path out of the crisis, and U.S. President Joe Biden promised that the U.S. would continue to give diplomacy “every chance,” but he struck a skeptical tone about Moscow’s intentions. Biden also insisted that Washington and its allies would not “sacrifice basic principles” respecting Ukraine sovereignty.
Russia has massed about 150,000 troops east, north and south of Ukraine, according to Western estimates. Moscow denies it has any plans to invade, and this week announced a pullback of some forces and weapons.
While details are scarce and the withdrawal is only partial, the Russian statements have lowered the political temperature following weeks of escalating tensions.
Russian Defense Ministry video showed a trainload of armored vehicles moving across a bridge away from Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
It also announced that more tank units of the Western Military District were being loaded on trains to move back to their permanent bases after training exercises.
But at the same time, Russia is continuing war games near Ukraine’s borders and across its vast territory. The U.S. and Europe are maintaining threats of harsh sanctions. Trust between East and West remains elusive.
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