Putin refuses to guarantee withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukrainian border

No one knows how Russia will continue to act on the border with Ukraine, said Russian President Vladimir Putin after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in the Kremlin.

"How Russia will act further? According to the plan. And what will it consist of? It will be based on the real situation on the ground. Who can answer how this situation is going to develop? So far, no one," Putin said at a joint press conference with Scholz.

"It depends not only on us," he said, answering the question whether Russia will continue to withdraw troops after the exercises, announced on Tuesday morning.

Putin added that the situation in the Donbas is a genocide. "Human rights are massively and systematically violated, discrimination against the Russian-speaking population is fixed at the legislative level " in Ukraine.

According to Putin, Moscow is not satisfied with the claims that the expansion of NATO at the expense of Ukraine is not on the agenda.

“As for the war in Europe, which is mentioned t in relation to the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border, the last time such a war was unleashed was by the NATO bloc against Yugoslavia,” Putin said. A major military operation with airstrikes on one of the European capitals - Belgrade. It did happen. It was not sanctioned by the UN Security Council. This is a very bad example, but it happened," Putin added.

On Tuesday, the official representative of the Russian Ministry of Defense Igor Konashenkov announced that "combat training drills" were complete and some Russian  troops are returning to their barracks.

"The units of the Southern and Western Military Districts, which have completed the tasks, have already begun loading on trains and trucks and today will begin to move to their military garrisons. Individual units will return on their own as part of military convoys," Konashenkov said.

Analysts of the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) did not confirm this information. According to them, there have been no visible changes "on the ground" so far.

"Those remaining echelons that were on the way, both moved towards the border (and not away from it)," the CIT said. "Moreover, there are reports that more units are on their way to the border [with Ukraine], which can be additionally confirmed by videos showing trains and data from the Russian Railways database." the CIT said.

  Putin, Ukraine, NATO, Russia