As the West suggested that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was imminent, Moscow announced that it was withdrawing troops having completed their training drills in Belarus, close to the border with its neighbor
On Tuesday the Russian the Ministry of Defense announced that troops had already begun preparing for withdrawal, and that troops would begin returning to their places of regular deployment.
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The Kremlin said that “western propaganda” had failed after media reports continuously implied that the exercises could have been a precursor to an invasion.
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However, according to US president Joe Biden a Russian attack on the country was “still very much a possibility”. He said that Moscow’s claim that it is withdrawing some of its troops from the Ukrainian border still needed to be verified.
Summit news reports: Goaded by the Biden administration, major news outlets like the Sun reported that the invasion was set for tomorrow, with a “massive missile blitz” planned, along with 200,000 troops at the ready.
But within hours, it appeared the media had jumped the gun.
Major General Igor Konashenkov announced that all Russian troops would begin to be withdrawn from the border region.
“As the forces complete their military exercises, they will, as always, complete a multimodal march back to their permanent bases,” Konashenkov stated. “The divisions of the South and West Military Districts have finished their tasks and have already begun loading the rail and automobile transport, and today will begin moving back to their military garrisons.”
Russia also released video clips showing armor being loaded onto railway carriages on its way back home.
Kremlin officials seized upon the troop withdrawal as proof of a propaganda victory against the United States and NATO.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, “15 February 2022 will go down in history as the day Western war propaganda failed,” she wrote, adding that the west has been “shamed and destroyed without firing a single shot.”
The White House’s national security advisor Jake Sullivan had breathlessly told CNN on Sunday that intelligence suggested “major military action” could “begin any day now.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had also declared that February 16th, the day the Biden administration claimed Russia was planning to invade, would be a national “day of unity.”
“On this day, we will fly our national flags, put on blue-and-yellow ribbons and show our unity to the entire world,” said Zelensky.
The comments were subsequently picked up by US media outlets and reported without an ounce of skepticism, prompting a stock market sell off and a rush on gold and crude oil.
Zelensky was then forced to back pedal and claim his comments were said “with irony.”