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NATO says Russia is misleading world on troop movements near Ukraine

Russia claimed to have pulled back troops
Russia Ukraine tensions
Posted at 5:53 AM, Feb 17, 2022

KYIV, Ukraine — NATO allies are accusing Russia of misleading the world and disseminating "disinformation" by saying it was returning some troops to bases.

They charge that Moscow has instead added as many as 7,000 more troops near its tense border with Ukraine.

With Western fears high that Russia is planning to invade, tensions also spiked Thursday along the line that separates Ukrainian forces from Russia-backed separatists in the country's east. The parties accusing each other of intensive shelling.

After a handful of positive signals from Russia that lowered the temperature in the crisis earlier in the week, the pendulum appeared to be swinging in the opposite direction again.

Russia has massed 150,000-plus troops near Ukraine.

In comments from the White House on Wednesday, President Joe Biden urged Russia not to levy an attack against Ukraine.

"Russia, you are not our enemy, and I do not believe you want a bloody destructive war against Ukraine," Biden said on Tuesday.

The U.S. has ordered thousands of troops toward Ukraine in recent weeks as Russia has grown more aggressive in its stance. The Pentagon says those troops were not being sent to fight but to reassure allies.

In denying his intention to attack Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed measures he says will improve security in Europe, including a promise not to extend an invitation to join NATO to Ukraine and the removal of the alliance's troops from Eastern Europe. The U.S. has said those proposals are nonstarters.

As a compromise, U.S. diplomats have suggested removing some long-range missiles from the region.