US Doubts Russia's Pledge to Scale Back Assault on Kyiv as Strikes Continue

Headline Roundup March 30th, 2022

As Russia missile strikes reportedly continue near Kyiv, U.S. officials are skeptical of Russia's promise to scale back military operations near the Ukrainian capital.

At peace talks on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy sought security guarantees and pledged neutrality in an effort to end Russia's invasion. Russia has labeled the first stage of its operation complete, and announced earlier this week that forces would shift focus on separatist-backed regions in eastern Ukraine. Some reports highlight Russian troops apparently retreating and reorganizing, while others focus on reports of more Russian strikes near Kyiv despite the Kremlin's pledge to pull back. 

A Pentagon spokesperson said Russia's troop movements near Kyiv appeared to be a repositioning rather than "a real withdrawal," and some Ukrainian leaders have warned that Russia's pledge to scale back operations may be meant to mislead. President Joe Biden said he doesn't "read anything into" Russia's claims of scaling back "until I see what their actions are."

Reports across the political spectrum framed a true pullback by Russian forces as unlikely, and implied that Russia could be gearing up for another major assault.

From the Right

President Joe Biden says he isn’t “reading anything into” statements from Russian officials signaling that the Russian military is drawing back some of its troops near the Ukrainian capitol of Kyiv.

Face-to-face negotiations between Russia and Ukraine Tuesday in Turkey yielded the first steps towards peace between the two nations more than a month into the war that has left thousands dead or injured and displaced nearly four million Ukrainians.

During the talks, Russia proposed drawing down its troop presence in and around Kyiv while Ukraine proposed adopting a neutral status on the international stage.


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From the Center

Russian forces pounded areas around Kyiv and another Ukrainian city overnight, local officials said Wednesday, just hours after Moscow pledged to scale back military operations in those places. The shelling further tempered optimism about possible progress in talks aimed at ending the punishing war.

Russia did not spell out what exactly a reduction in activity would look like, and while the promise initially raised hopes that a path toward ending the bloody war of attrition was at hand, Ukraine’s president and others cautioned that the commitments could merely be bluster.

Moscow, meanwhile, reacted...

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From the Left

President Joe Biden and other American officials voiced extreme caution Tuesday at signals Russia is scaling back its military operations near Kyiv, suggesting they were waiting to see stronger signs of de-escalation before making an assessment of Moscow's intentions.

"We'll see. I don't read anything into it until I see what their actions are. We'll see if they follow through what they're suggesting," Biden said at the White House, where officials were busy digesting intelligence and reports from the ground that Russian troops were moving their focus away from Ukraine's capital toward other areas of...

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