BRUSSELS — Despite Russian statements that it would radically reduce its military activities around Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, to focus on the war in eastern Ukraine, Western governments see little evidence of that, Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of Ukraine NATO, at a press conference on Thursday.
“According to our intelligence, Russian units are not withdrawing, but repositioning,” he said, echoing the views of the US and British governments. “Russia is trying to regroup, resupply and strengthen its offensive in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said.
“At the same time, Russia is keeping pressure on Kiev and other cities, so we can expect additional offensive actions, which will cause even more suffering,” he said.
Mr Stoltenberg warned of skepticism about Russian statements about his plans. “Russia has repeatedly lied about its intentions,” he said. “So we can only judge Russia by its actions, not by its words.”
Following Ukrainian-Russian talks in Turkey this week, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Aleksandr Fomin presented the decision to “severely reduce” military activity around the Ukrainian capital Kiev and the northern city of Chernihiv as a gesture “to build mutual trust.” for future negotiations”, rather than as a tactical retreat.