The White House and NATO accused Russia of increasing the number of troops concentrated on the border with Ukraine, the very day after Moscow stated it had begun withdrawing some of its military units from the region.
According to CNBC, during a meeting of the leaders of the North Atlantic Alliance member states on Wednesday, February 16, the bloc's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed that there is no certainty whether the promised withdrawal would actually take place.
"So far, we have not seen any de-escalation on the ground. On the contrary it appears that Russia continues their military buildup," he said.
Regarding the footage that the Russian Defense Ministry showed allegedly in support of its statements about the withdrawal, Stoltenberg said that Russia "always moves its troops back and forth," and therefore these videos do not mean anything.
According to France 24, an unnamed official of Joe Biden’s presidential administration declared the deployment of "as many as 7,000 troops" to the border with Ukraine. However, he did not provide any evidence. The official also stressed that Moscow's statements about the withdrawal are "false."
"The Russian government has stated it is withdrawing troops from the border with Ukraine. This claim grabbed a lot of attention both here and all over the world, but now we know that it was false... We continue to receive indications that they (the Russians—Ed. note) could launch a false pretext to justify the invasion at any moment," he stated.
The White House spokesperson clarified that the "pretext for the attack could be a provocation organized in Donbas, the alleged increased activity of the North Atlantic Alliance on sea or land, or the invasion of foreign forces on Russian territory.
Context. During a briefing on February 15, U.S. President Joe Biden stated that the Russian Federation had amassed about 150,000 troops near the Ukrainian border.