The concentration of Russian troops near Ukraine’s border has not decreased. Igor Zhovkva, deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential office, stated this on Wednesday, January 12.
“The concentration of Russian troops around the Ukrainian borders <...> unfortunately, has not decreased. It continues to fluctuate, but we do not see any actions to withdraw the troops and return them to their places of permanent deployment. We have information about the start of another exercise near Ukraine’s borders,” Zhovkva said on the air of Ukrainian Radio.
He noted that the Ukrainian Armed Forces “will be ready to fight back” if the situation escalates, but added that he himself hopes for a diplomatic solution. He also said that negotiations with Russia were important.
On 12 January, the head of the press service of the US Department of State, Ned Price, said that Washington did not see any signs of de-escalation of the situation around Ukraine. At the same time, he said, “de-escalation could happen even tomorrow, even on Friday”.
On the same day, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the Russia-NATO Council meeting held in Brussels “a difficult but important discussion. He said that the sides discussed the situation in Ukraine, as well as security issues in Europe. The NATO Secretary General stressed that there are disagreements between Russia and NATO, which “are not easy to overcome, but it was important to start a dialogue.
At a press conference after the session of the Russia-NATO Council, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said that de-escalation of the situation in Ukraine was possible if Kiev was forced to comply with the Minsk agreements. He stressed that NATO should stop military assistance to Ukraine.