BRUSSELS — Despite Russian statements that it would radically reduce its military activity around Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, to concentrate on the war in eastern Ukraine, Western governments see little evidence of that, Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, told a news conference on Thursday.
“According to our intelligence, Russian units are not withdrawing but repositioning,” he said, echoing the views of the U.S. and British governments. “Russia is trying to regroup, resupply and reinforce its offensive in the Donbas region” in eastern Ukraine, Mr. Stoltenberg said.
“At the same time, Russia maintains pressure on Kyiv and other cities, so, we can expect additional offensive actions, bringing even more suffering,” he said.
Mr. Stoltenberg cautioned skepticism about Russian statements about its plans. “Russia has repeatedly lied about its intentions,” he said. “So we can only judge Russia on its actions, not on its words.”
After Ukrainian-Russian talks this week in Turkey, Russia’s deputy defense minister, Aleksandr Fomin, presented the decision to “sharply reduce” military activity around the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and the northern city of Chernihiv as a gesture “to increase mutual trust for future negotiations,” rather than as a tactical retreat.