Russian troops regrouping, not withdrawing, says NATO chiefReading Time: < 1 minute
NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that intelligence showed Russian forces in Ukraine were not withdrawing, but appeared to be regrouping, according to Al Jazeera. His assertion contradicted the Kremlin’s announcement on Tuesday that it planned to reduce military operations in Kyiv and Chernihiv, following bilateral negotiations with Ukraine in Istanbul; NATO’s chief said Russia is maintaining pressure on Ukraine’s capital and other cities.
Stoltenberg told reporters, “Russia is trying to regroup, resupply and reinforce its offensive in the Donbas region.”
Those sentiments were corroborated by Ukraine’s General Staff of Armed Forces, which reported Russia was “preparing for the resumption of offensive operations in certain areas and establishing full control over the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions”.
Meanwhile, in a video message on Thursday, Oleksiy Arestovych, an adviser to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, said that Russia had destroyed the greater part of Ukraine’s defence industry.
Vladimir Putin announced on Thursday that as of Friday those buying Russian gas would have to pay in rubles by opening an account at Gazprom bank, writes the BBC; previously the Russian President had threatened to cut off gas supplies to “unfriendly” buyers if they didn’t settle their bill in rubles. But Western governments say his demand is a breach of contract. Among them, Germany’s Minister of Economy Robert Habeck said: “It is important for us not to give a signal that we will be blackmailed by Putin.”