R&I – TxPAT ***
Senior National Security Correspondent
February 16, 2022 07:46 PM ET
Putin has moved 7,000 more troops to Ukraine border in recent days, says Biden official.
Russia is sending more troops to the Ukrainian border, one day after claiming that they would withdraw forces and de-escalate, a senior Biden administration official said Wednesday.
Russia added 7,000 troops over the past several days to the more than 150,000 amassed around Ukraine, the official told reporters. Some of those additional Russian troops arrived on Wednesday, the official said, despite Putin’s comments one day earlier that troops would head home now that military exercises had ended.
“Yesterday, the Russian government said it was withdrawing troops from the border with Ukraine. They received a lot of attention for that claim, both here and around the world. But we now know it was false,” the official said.
The official also cast doubt on the sincerity of Putin’s commitment to engage in diplomacy.
“Every indication we have now is they mean only to publicly offer to talk and make claims about deescalation while privately mobilizing for war,” the official said.
The official also repeated recent U.S. warnings that Russia could launch an attack as a response to a false pretext to justify an invasion of Ukraine “at any moment.” Those false claims could involve many different scenarios, including a provocation in the Donbas region in southeastern Ukraine, a NATO attack, or an incursion into Russian territory, the official predicted.