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Kremlin: NATO Has Issues With Assessing Situation as Bloc Doubts Russian Troop Withdrawal

© Sputnik / Russian Defence Ministry / Go to the mediabankRussian tanks leave southern border after military drills
Russian tanks leave southern border after military drills - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.02.2022
Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg refused to call Russia's withdrawal of troops from its southern border a de-escalation, claiming that Moscow is constantly moving troops around and that the alliance hasn't seen a real pullout of forces.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has called out NATO's issues with the ability to assess situations correctly after the alliance claimed that it had not seen evidence of a Russian troop withdrawal. The Russian Defence Ministry reported on 15 February that southern and western military units had begun returning to their bases of permanent deployment following scheduled drills on the southern border near Ukraine.
Responding to a journalist's question, Peskov confirmed that NATO is incorrectly assessing the situation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, in turn, has called out a "lack of upbringing" in NATO following calls to "verify" Moscow's statements about troop withdrawals.
The spokesman's comments come in the wake of remarks by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who doubted the Russian Defence Ministry statements about a troop pullout from Russia's southern border.
"It remains to be seen whether there is a Russian withdrawal [...] What we see is that they have increased the number of troops, and more troops are on the way", he said.
His statements were echoed by UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, who claimed that London hasn't seen "any evidence of that withdrawal" via "physical observations". His German colleague, Christine Lambrecht, said that NATO is waiting for a "signal" from Russia in the form of long-term troop withdrawal away from Ukraine's border.
Stoltenberg, for his part, admitted that the alliance had no way of telling exactly how many Russian troops are even deployed at the Ukrainian border, despite Western politicians routinely issuing frightening figures of 100,000 or 150,000 Russian servicemen being stationed and purportedly ready to invade Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly rejected the West's allegations that it is preparing an "invasion" of Ukraine. Moscow also defended its right to move the nation's forces within its own territory as it sees fit, including to conduct drills.
The "Russian invasion" hysteria is additionally being whipped up by Western media outlets. Two British tabloids claimed that a Russian attack would start overnight between 15 and 16 February, citing US intelligence. However, no attack occurred.
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