Russia says it pulls back more troops amid Ukraine standoff

Russia At War

(NewsNation Now) — Russia said Wednesday it was returning more troops and weapons to bases, yet another gesture apparently aimed at easing fears it is planning to invade Ukraine, even as the U.S. said the threat of an attack remained.

The Russian Defense Ministry released a video showing a trainload of armored vehicles moving across a bridge away from Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula that Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014. It said the move was part of a return of forces to their permanent bases.

Yet President Joe Biden said Tuesday that, “An invasion remains distinctly possible.” The president is not taking Russian President Vladimir Putin at his word that Russian troops are pulling back.

He’s threatened Putin with “overwhelming international condemnation” should he invade. Biden says the United States is prepared no matter what happens.

Currently, Russia has massed about 150,000 troops east, north and south of Ukraine. There have been no indications of a significant withdrawal of those forces, but this week has seen a handful of gestures from Moscow that offered hope that Europe might avoid war following weeks of escalating East-West tensions.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said the military organization does not see any sign that Moscow is decreasing its troop levels around Ukraine. Putin has yet to commit to a full withdrawal, saying Russia’s next moves in the standoff will depend on how the situation evolves.

Biden noted Tuesday that an invasion of Ukraine by Russia would result in spiked energy prices for Americans.

Russia wants the West to keep Ukraine and other former Soviet nations out of NATO, halt weapons deployments near Russian borders and roll back forces from Eastern Europe. The U.S. and its allies have roundly rejected those demands, but they offered to engage in talks with Russia on ways to bolster security in Europe.

The U.S. continues to ready for the possibility of an invasion. Another batch of 3,000 soldiers have deployed to Europe, according to the U.S. Army.

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