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Ukraine crisis: Russia’s claim of pulling out military is ‘false’, says US officials

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

Washington: A senior US official on Wednesday told reporters that the United States believes Russia’s claim that it is moving troops away from the border with Ukraine is “false”.

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“So yesterday, the Russian government said it was withdrawing troops from the border with Ukraine. They received a lot of attention for that claim, both here and around the world. But we now know it was false,” the official said. The official did not offer details or provide evidence for how it knew that.

“In fact,” the official said, “we have now confirmed that in the last several days, Russia has increased its troop presence along the Ukrainian border by as many as 7,000 troops, with some arriving as recently as today.”

Russia’s defense ministry said Wednesday its forces were pulling back after exercises near Ukraine, and published video that it said showed forces leaving the Crimean peninsula.

But US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview on MSNBC on Wednesday that “critical units” were moving towards the border.

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On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden said the United States estimated that 150,000 Russian troops had encircled Ukraine, an increase from previous estimates of about 100,000.

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