Russian troops moving toward Ukraine border: Blinken

Washington/Paris, Feb 16 (UNI/Sputnik): The US continues to see Russian forces heading toward the Ukraine border, not away from it, Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the country was withdrawing some troops away from the border with Ukraine and from Crimea following military drills.


“We continue to see not only these forces mass, we continue to see critical units moving toward the border, not away from the border. So, what we need to see is exactly the opposite,” Blinken told MSNBC.

“Well, there’s what Russia says and then there’s what Russia does and we haven’t seen any pullback of its forces, they remain massed in a very threatening way along Ukraine’s borders. It’d be good if they follow through on what they said but so far we haven’t seen it,” he argued.

Western media reports earlier indicated that an alleged Russian offensive against Ukraine might start early on Wednesday, which did not materialise.

Russia in turn has on many occasions denied allegations of intending to “invade” its neighbour, while stressing that it has the right to move its forces within its own territory. Moscow says the claims are intended to justify NATO and the US deploying more troops and weapons close to Russian borders.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, exchanged views during a phone conversation concerning the need to continue efforts to reduce tensions around Ukraine and resolve the crisis through dialogue on Wednesday, the Elysee Palace said.

“As for the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, they [Macron and Xi] discussed the need to continue efforts to reduce tensions and resolve the crisis through dialogue,” the Elysee Palace said.

The French president recalled the importance of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, the communique went on.

The Chinese president welcomed the actions of France and Germany within the Normandy format and reiterated his full support for the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

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