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Biden: U.S. has not yet verified Russia troop withdrawal

Biden: U.S. has not yet verified Russia troop withdrawal

Posted February. 17, 2022 07:40,   

Updated February. 17, 2022 07:40


U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday (local time) that the U.S. has not yet verified Russia’s claim that some of its forces have withdrawn from Ukraine’s border, adding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine remains a distinct possibility. President Biden voiced skepticism over the Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claim that some of its forces pulled back from the Ukraine border and pointed out that the threat of invasion still remains.

Speaking from the White House on Tuesday, President Biden said Russia still has some 150,000 troops around Ukraine and they remain in a threatening position. President Biden raised a possibility that Russian President Putin’s claim of Russian troop withdrawal could be a deceptive move by revealing that the size of the Russian troops amassed at the border, originally estimated at 130,000, has increased to 150,000. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Russia is building field hospitals in Belarus, which appears to be part of invasion preparations.

President Biden, however, said Russia made a proposal to continue diplomatic negotiations, adding the U.S. is ready to give diplomacy every chance to succeed. President Putin met German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Moscow the previous day and said he hopes to continue diplomatic talks with the West. Since both Biden and Putin expressed their willingness for talks, the U.S. and Russia are likely to engage in a fierce diplomatic war amid strong military tension.

In particular, President Putin claimed that genocide is occurring in the eastern Donbas region of Ukraine, triggering for a new conflict. This is because Russia is moving to recognize the independence of Donbas, which is strongly opposed by the West. Donbas is a conflict zone between the Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russia separatists.

Youn-Jong Kim zozo@donga.com