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  1. International Politics
17 February 2022

“No evidence” for Russian withdrawal

Ukraine and its allies fear reports of troops leaving its border are part of a disinformation campaign.

By Ailbhe Rea

Liz Truss, the Foreign Secretary, has warned that the West “must not be lulled into a false sense of security” by Russia’s claims that it is withdrawing its troops from the Ukrainian border, adding that there is “no evidence” of a Russian withdrawal.

This view has been echoed by the US, Ukraine and Nato amid concerns about a possible disinformation campaign by Russia, which has shared footage of troops purportedly leaving Ukraine. Information received by the UK and its allies indicates the opposite.

It is still not inevitable that Russia will invade Ukraine, but briefings by the US and by our own armed forces minister, James Heappey, demonstrate the precariousness of the situation. “I think the urgency with which I and other colleagues have briefed on your programmes is a reflection of the fact that all of the conditions are set,” Heappey told the BBC this morning. “The moment President Putin takes the decision it is literally just a matter of minutes before military effect could be felt in Ukrainian cities.”

[See also: In the face of Russian aggression, the West can and must rediscover its strength]

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