NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the North Atlantic Alliance “does not see any de-escalation” on the Russian-Ukrainian border, despite Moscow’s statements about the return of troops to their deployment points. About it informs DPA agency.
“On the contrary, it seems that Russia continues to build up military power. We are seeing that they have increased the number of troops and even more troops are on the way,” the head of NATO said.
Meanwhile, the Russian Defense Ministry statedthat units of the tank army of the Western Military District (ZVO) are returning to their permanent deployment points after the exercises.
Armored vehicles were loaded onto trains, which will have to travel about 1,000 km to the bases, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“Servicemen of the tank army units of the Western Military District have completed the loading of tanks and armored tracked vehicles onto railway platforms and have begun to march in a combined way to the points of permanent deployment at a distance of about 1,000 kilometers after the completion of the planned exercises,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The region in which the exercises were conducted was not specified in the message.
A day earlier, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported President Vladimir Putin that some of the ongoing military exercises will soon be completed. In particular, on February 10-20, the joint exercises of Russia and Belarus “Allied Resolve – 2022” are being held.
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier that Russian troops would leave Belarus after joint exercises. He did not name a specific date for the return of troops to their places of deployment.
February 16 Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei declaredthat after the completion of the exercises “not a single” serviceman and unit of combat Russia “will remain” in the republic.
In early February 2022, Russia deployed several thousand of its military to Belarus as part of joint exercises. The exact number of servicemen who arrived from the Russian Federation was not officially named. In addition to Belarus, since the end of 2021, Russia has been accumulating military equipment in other regions close to the borders of Ukraine: in the Rostov, Bryansk, Voronezh regions, as well as in the annexed Crimea. In total, according to observers, about 120,000 military personnel were deployed to the borders of Ukraine, including from Siberia and the Far East.
Western countries fear that Russia may attack Ukraine in the coming days. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied plans to attack Ukraine.