“We do not know whether Russia has taken a decision to reduce the escalation,” Smith said in a telephone briefing, noting that “the coming days will reveal the goal of the recent moves.”
“We are trying to verify reports of Russian forces withdrawing from border areas, and we will decide our position after that,” she added.
The US official explained that “the best way to resolve differences with Russia is to sit at the dialogue table through the Russia-NATO Council.”
And she concluded, “We continue to assess the situation on the Ukrainian border, and we will take our decisions accordingly,” according to the “Sky News Arabia” correspondent in Washington.
On Tuesday, the Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that some forces in the military regions bordering Ukraine had begun to return to their bases after completing exercises, in a move that would ease the dispute between Moscow and the West.
A ministry spokesman said in a video clip posted on the Internet that large-scale exercises were continuing across the country, but some units in the southern and western military regions had completed their exercises and started returning to their bases.
Video footage released by the Ministry of Defense showed the loading of some tanks and other armored vehicles onto railway cars.
The Interfax news agency quoted Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba as saying that Kiev “will not believe in de-escalation until it sees the withdrawal of Russian forces.”
For his part, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson considered that intelligence information related to the Russian presence on the Ukrainian border “remains not encouraging” despite the announcement of the withdrawal of some forces and Moscow’s saying that it is “open to dialogue.”
“Russia is showing openness to dialogue, but from the other side the intelligence we have today is still not encouraging,” Johnson said at the conclusion of a crisis meeting on Ukraine.
He pointed to “Russian field hospitals set up near the Ukrainian border in Belarus” and “more tactical groups are approaching the border. The signals are mixed so far,” according to “AFP”.