NATO allies accuse Russia of misleading world on troop movements near Ukraine
NATO allies accused Russia of misleading the world and disseminating “disinformation” by saying it was returning some troops to bases, charging that Moscow has instead added as many as 7,000 more troops near its tense border with Ukraine.
With Western fears high that Russia is planning to invade, tensions also spiked Thursday along the line that separates Ukrainian forces from Russia-backed separatists in the country’s east, with the parties accusing each other of intensive shelling.
After a handful of positive signals from Russia that lowered the temperature in the crisis earlier in the week, the pendulum appeared to be swinging in the opposite direction again. With an estimated 150,000-plus troops massed near Ukraine, the Kremlin offered to keep pursuing diplomatic solutions – an overture the NATO chief welcomed, even as he and others warned that the U.S.-led alliance has still seen no sign of the military withdrawal that Moscow announced.
“We have seen the opposite of some of the statements. We have seen an increase of troops over the last 48 hours, up to 7,000,” said British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace ahead of a meeting Thursday of the western alliance in Brussels.