Ukraine Cautious Over Possible Russian Retreat
In Ukraine, there is no belief that Russia will reduce its military activities around Kyiv, as announced. Scepticism also prevails in the US and Western Europe.
The Ukrainian government does not believe that Russia is withdrawing troops from the areas around Kyiv and Chernihiv on a large scale. The “so-called troop withdrawal” is more of a rotation of units intended to deceive the Ukrainian military leadership, the Ukrainian General Staff said on the night. This is also designed to create a false image of the allegedly discontinued plan to encircle Kyiv.
According to the situation report of the Ukrainian General Staff, the Russian military had withdrawn some units from the areas around Kyiv and Chernihiv. But there are indications that these units will be deployed elsewhere in eastern Ukraine.
After a rapprochement in the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations yesterday in Istanbul, Russia announced that it would “radically” reduce its military activities in the Kyiv region and near Chernihiv in the north as a sign of accommodation. Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin said his government wanted to build trust and enable further negotiations.
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky expressed scepticism about this announcement. In a video speech in the evening, he said that there had been positive signals during talks between a Ukrainian and a Russian delegation in Istanbul. “But these signals do not drown out the explosions of Russian shells.” The reality is that Ukrainian cities will continue to be besieged and shelled, and therefore, the Ukrainian armed forces are “the only guarantee of our survival”.
Zelenskyy continues to have serious doubts about Russia’s trustworthiness: the Ukrainian side sees no reason to believe the words of representatives of a state who are still working on the destruction of Ukraine, he said. “Ukrainians are not naive.”