Russia Moves Troops Away From Kyiv, Implying A Change In Battle

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  • Still, Kirby cautioned that the troop movements do not amount to a retreat, as some observers had speculated. 
  • And that we all should be prepared to watch for a major offensive against other areas of Ukraine.
  • And we’re going to continue to keep a close eye on what’s going on.

According to Pentagon press secretary John Kirby, the Russian military has begun to transfer some of its forces in Ukraine away from Kyiv and into other parts of the country, as part of a strategic change in its month-long invasion of Ukraine as reported by CNBC.

Defensive positions 

“Up until recently, we had still assessed that their plan was to occupy and annex Ukraine using approaches along three lines of attack,” Kirby told reporters at the Pentagon. 

“Now we think they’re going to prioritize the east” of Ukraine.

U.S. officials said several days ago that Russian troops had stopped gaining new ground around Kyiv, and instead were digging defensive positions.

Now it appears that at least some of those troops, a “small number,” according to Kirby, are actually leaving.

But leaders on both sides of the Atlantic quickly dismissed the idea that Putin and the Kremlin were acting in good faith.

Keep a close eye

“We’ll see,” President Joe Biden said Tuesday in response to a question about the Russian pledge to scale back troops in the north. 

“We’re going to continue to provide the Ukrainian military with their capacity to defend themselves.

And we’re going to continue to keep a close eye on what’s going on.”

Biden made the remarks after a call Tuesday morning with the leaders of Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and France to discuss Ukraine.

“Putin is twisting the knife in the open wound of Ukraine in an attempt to force the country and its allies to capitulate.”

Conscripting more soldiers

French President Emmanuel Macron was also on the call Tuesday, and afterwards, he spoke to Putin.

In a sign of how far Putin is from admitting culpability for the suffering in Eastern Ukraine, the Russian president reportedly told Macron that the humanitarian situation in Mariupol — where thousands of civilians have been killed by Russian troops— would not improve until “Ukrainian nationalist militants” stopped “resisting” and disarmed.

Western officials will be watching closely in the coming days to see whether Russian troops move to Eastern Ukraine and whether Russia expands its military draft to conscript more soldiers, a decision Putin is expected to make by April 1.

“No amount of spin can mask what the world has witnessed over the past month,” Kirby said Tuesday.

“And that’s the courage and the military prowess of Ukraine’s armed forces and its people.”

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Source: CNBC

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