US Defense Secretary: Russia is deceiving the world and continues to reinforce its forces on Ukraine’s borders

Brussels (news now) – February 17, 2022. 17:40

Russia still has a chance for a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis

  • Russia raises NATO concerns after bombing of Donbass
  • Lloyd Austin holds Vladimir Putin responsible if diplomatic solution fails

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin held a press conference in Brussels to talk about the latest developments in the Ukraine crisis over the past hours.

Austin said that Russia is increasing its forces on the Ukrainian border, reversing the statements made by the Kremlin.

Austin added that Russia may take the bombing in Donbas as a pretext to invade Ukraine, stressing at the same time that NATO will defend every inch of the territory of member states.

He added that the number of Russian soldiers on the Ukrainian border has reached 150,000, with those forces being stationed in Belarus and the Black Sea.

On the possibility of reaching a diplomatic solution to the crisis, the US Defense Secretary said that it is still possible, while Russian President Vladimir Putin will bear the responsibility before the world in case the diplomatic solution fails.

The US Secretary of Defense confirms that the number of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border has reached 150,000

On the other hand, the Kremlin announced today that the return of the forces participating in maneuvers at the borders of Ukraine to their barracks will take time, at a time when NATO accuses Moscow of maintaining and strengthening its military deployment.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that “the Defense Minister has actually reported that some stages of the exercises are nearing their end, and that the military will successively return to their bases,” stressing that it is “a process that extends in time.”

He recalled that the process of deploying forces, which began in December in preparation for the land, air and sea military exercises in the vicinity of Ukraine, took several weeks.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the situation is worrying, after the Ukrainian village of Stanitsya Luhanska was bombed with heavy weapons from the east of the country in the Donbass.

The Secretary General of NATO expressed his concern over the suspicious movements of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border

“We are concerned that Russia They are trying to create a pretext for an armed attack on Ukraine, and there is still no clarity or certainty about Russian intentions.”

And Stoltenberg warned: “Any Russian recognition of the secession of Donbass will undermine Ukraine’s territorial integrity.”

The Secretary-General of NATO confirmed that the alliance will work to provide military and material support to the Ukrainian army.

He also stressed that NATO is ready for dialogue with Russia in pursuit of a diplomatic solution.

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