Russian soldiers are pulling out of areas around Kyiv three days after Moscow announced it would scale back operations around the Ukrainian capital, saying it was aimed at fostering trust between the two countries to help reach a peace deal .
However, the UK and other allies have warned that the pullout from Kyiv was just an acknowledgment of defeat over Putin’s original plan to seize the capital in a thunderbolt, and not does not indicate a reduction in Russian aggression.
President Volodymyr Zelensky said the move was more of a tactical withdrawal than a retreat, saying in an online video: “For the Russian military, this is part of their tactics.
“We know they’re moving away from the area where we’re beating them to focus on the others…we still have a very tough road to walk to get everything we’re looking for.”
The United States describes the movement of Russian troops as a “repositioning” rather than a permanent withdrawal, with the Pentagon saying the troops are heading north towards Belarus.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said: “Our assessment would be that they will rehabilitate these troops, resupply them and then probably employ them elsewhere in Ukraine.”
About 20% of Russian troops began to withdraw from areas around kyiv, including those 16 km from the center. The city continues to be the target of airstrikes and long-range artillery.