Russian forces continue to launch attacks near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, despite saying they would scale back operations there “to build confidence” in peace talks with Ukraine.
“Despite the rhetoric of de-escalation, we are still seeing artillery fire and airstrikes in and around Kyiv,” a senior US defense official told reporters on Thursday. “They are still fighting.”
PENTAGON: “A SMALL NUMBER” OF RUSSIAN TROOPS LEAVING kyiv, “NOT A REAL WITHDRAWAL”
Russian leaders said they would limit their attacks near the capital earlier this week as delegations from the two countries met in Istanbul for their first face-to-face talks in two weeks, although skepticism remains.
“It’s very nice rhetoric, but it doesn’t mean kyiv is less threatened,” the official added.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon said it had seen a “small number” of Russian forces around Kyiv turn around, though they called it a “repositioning” more than a “withdrawal.” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said it’s “about 20% of what they had” around the city that repositioned.
“Everyone should expect that we will continue to see attacks across Ukraine,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said during a briefing earlier this week. “Obviously a key message the President delivered during his trip to Europe last week was that we are on a long grind, that our allies and partners must stay, that our resolve must remain strong, and that we must continue to put in is implementing the strategy of inflicting significant costs on the Russian economy, and again, strengthening Ukraine on the battlefields and at the negotiating table.”
The analysis comes days after Pentagon officials said Russian forces were taking up defensive positions and cowering where they were, about 10 miles from the center of the capital.
CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
The Pentagon also said Thursday there was reason to believe Russian President Vladimir Putin had not been accurately briefed on the disastrous military operation.
“The fact that he may not have the full context that he may not fully understand how his forces are failing in Ukraine is a bit embarrassing, to be honest with you. certainly is one of the results of this, which could be a less than faithful effort to negotiate some sort of settlement here,” Kirby said Wednesday, though he also warned that they “don’t have access to any information given to him or any conversations he had”.