U.S. Prepares More Ukrainian Aid as Pentagon Says Russian Withdrawal is a Ruse – The Pentagon reportedly believes that the Russian withdrawal in Western Ukraine could be a sign that troops are preparing new offensives in the east of Ukraine. While “small numbers” of Russian troops have been seen repositioning to the north of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Pentagon officials reportedly believe that Russian troops are preparing to move into the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.
Consistent with our reporting on the conflict, and with comments from the Kremlin, the Pentagon believes that Russian forces will move to a second phase of the invasion that will focus on the “liberation” of the eastern region of Donbas.
“We’re seeing a small number now that appears to be moving away from Kyiv,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday. “This on the same day that the Russians say they’re withdrawing, but we’re not prepared to call this a retreat, or even a withdrawal. What they probably have in mind is a repositioning to prioritize elsewhere.”
Kirby said that the troops moving out of Kyiv do not constitute a “significant chunk” of the multiple battalion tactical groups that were sent into Kyiv and the surrounding suburbs.
“It’s not anywhere near a majority of what they have arrayed” around the capital, he added.
U.S. Won’t Stop Aiding Ukraine Even As Russians “Withdraw”
President Joe Biden vowed to continue giving Ukraine the “capacity to defend” itself against Russian troops, even as Russia claims to be withdrawing from the nation’s capital city.
During a joint press conference at the White House with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, the president said that the United States does not intend to scale back assistance to Ukraine even as Russia indicates that it is reprioritizing its troops in the contested eastern region of the country.
“I don’t read anything into it until I see what their actions are,” the president said. “We’ll see if they follow through on what they’re suggesting.”
U.S. and Allies Consider Additional $500 Million in Aid
Speaking to Reuters on Tuesday, a source familiar with discussions between the United States and NATO allies said that ongoing discussions may result in an additional $500 million in aid for Ukraine.
A U.S. official refused to confirm the figure when approached about ongoing negotiations, but said that the U.S. is still “actively working on how to continue our support for the Ukrainian government through security, humanitarian and financial assistance.”
Russia may be repositioning troops under the guise of a “withdrawal,” but neither the United States nor the European Union is pulling back on aid to Ukraine.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.