Earlier this week, Russia announced that it would reduce “military activity” around Kyiv and Chernihiv – which would be a much-needed pardon for Ukrainians hoping for peace.
But the claims could be fake, according to senior US officials and lawmakers.
“They might back off a bit,” Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told The Daily Beast.
But “the Russians are masters of deception. They did it all the time. We shouldn’t read too much into this,” Moulton said. “We all want peace, but I don’t think the Russians are ready to give up.”
Russia has a long history of saying one thing and doing the opposite, says Moulton.
Earlier, Moscow stated that it was regrouping its forces, only to dilute and promote active military moves against Ukraine, for example. Just this February, Russia announced it was withdrawing some of its troops near the Ukrainian border. Officials at the time were skeptical of Russia’s intentions.
Indeed, a few days after Russia made the statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin relaxed the all-out assault and invaded Ukraine.
Dan Tri Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, warned the Biden administration may now be looking at a similar scenario.
“I didn’t” buy it, Gallego told The Daily Beast. “We’re still hearing about artillery and rockets.”
“We saw this claim, you know, not too long ago when they also claimed that they backed up before the invasion. That ultimately didn’t come true,” Gallego added. “So I have full confidence but let’s verify when it comes to the Russians.”
This time, President Joe Biden poured cold water on claims that Russia indeed plans to withdraw.
“We’ll see. I don’t read anything about it until I see what their actions are,” Biden said on Tuesday. “We’ll see if they follow through. [what] they suggested. “
Secretary of State Antony Blinken dismissed the statements as dubious, noting Tuesday that the United States has not seen “real seriousness” from the Russians on this point.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby points out that this whole claim is also likely an invention. “We’re not ready to buy the argument that this is Russia’s withdrawal,” Kirby said at a news conference.
So far, all indications are that Russia is regrouping – not withdrawing, according to the Pentagon. Russia has withdrawn 20% of its forces from Kyiv to resupply and refuel, but has not returned home, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.
Russia’s statement that it was withdrawing coincided with talks between Russia and Ukraine in Turkey, where Russia said it would withdraw “to strengthen mutual trust and create the necessary conditions for negotiations.” next negotiation.”
“I think Putin is using this as a smokescreen, buying time to regroup.”
And while the dubious statements may have been part of a program to promote negotiations, Russia has not done a good job of messaging it. Even Putin’s close allies openly claim the withdrawal is bogus. Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said on Wednesday “we are not making any form of withdrawal”.
And meanwhile, Russia has yet to give any indication that it will stop shelling Ukraine. Local authorities say Russia continues to hit targets in eastern Ukraine and Russian forces continue to shell the outskirts of Kyiv, according to Reuters.
The future of peace negotiations is looking uncertain at the moment. Russian spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Wednesday said the talks had not resulted in any diplomatic breakthrough. Even so, Ukrainian lawmakers don’t seem to think that Russia is making a good faith effort to negotiate anything close to peace.
“We feel this is not a real peace negotiation at this point,” Anastasia Radina, a Ukrainian MP, said Wednesday at an event of the German Marshall Fund.
“I think Putin is using this as a smokescreen, buying time to regroup,” added another Ukrainian politician, Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze.
As peace talks stalled, rumors swirled in the chambers of Congress that Putin might be using a fake withdrawal announcement as a way to test the waters to see if Moscow can what to expect in the future.
“I think they’re trying to see what kind of reaction they’re getting around the world from this idea that they’re backing out and they’re just testing to see the limits of what they can do. [cross]Gallego told The Daily Beast.
Some analysts have suggested that Putin may be interested in announcing his withdrawal from Kyiv and Chernihiv as a way to mask the losses they are facing from a domestic audience, and instead, it seems likely like Russia is choosing to leave – instead of admitting it’s having trouble conquering those cities. Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Malyar on Monday said Russian forces were regrouping specifically because they could not make any progress, as reported by Reuters.
Ukrainians have been resisting across the country taking up arms and fighting in the streets for weeks now. And it is only in recent days that some patriotic resistance has begun to succeed: The town of Trostyanets in the northeast and territories in the Chernihiv region were liberated from the Russian army this week. The Ukrainians also pushed back Russian forces from Irpin, according to the mayor.
Making matters worse for Moscow, the Russian military has been mired in failures in their invasion of Ukraine since day one. They have been stalled outside the Ukrainian capital, awaiting attack and grappling with fuel shortages and failure to maintain capacity, a senior US defense official said.
Part of Putin’s trouble is that he can’t seem to get his forces to win decisive victories in Ukraine.
However, Moulton is not certain that the fake claim about the withdrawal was about sending a text back home to save face.
“I suspect that their target audience for the pullback is us and the Ukrainians,” Moulton said, adding that it could be about positioning on the international stage. “They have a lot of other propaganda to lie to their people — about how many Russian boys have lost their lives.”
https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-sinister-truth-behind-vladimir-putins-shady-drawdown-from-kyiv?source=articles&via=rss The sinister truth behind Vladimir Putin’s shady fall from Kyiv