Biden Skeptical of US Intelligence Showing Russian Retreat From Kyiv: 'We'll See'

Smoke rising Kyiv, Ukraine, on Feb. 27, 2022 / Reuters
March 29, 2022

President Joe Biden is skeptical that Russia's decision to withdraw some troops from the region around Kyiv will have a major effect on the war in Ukraine.

The United States has observed Russian forces retreating in the north of Ukraine, two senior officials told CNN on Tuesday. The Russian defense ministry said the same day it will "drastically reduce" military activity around Kyiv and the city of Chernihiv, both in the north.

While the officials called the withdrawal a "major" shift in the Kremlin's strategy, Biden said he isn't too sure.

"We'll see," the president said in response to a question about the retreat. "I don't read anything into it until I see what their actions are."

Secretary of State Antony Blinken struck a similar note. A drawdown around Kyiv could be "a means by which Russia once again is trying to deflect and deceive people into thinking it’s not doing what it is doing," Blinken said.

The partial withdrawal comes after peace talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials finished in Istanbul. While Russian president Vladimir Putin has appeared unwilling to pursue peace, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said Tuesday that Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky may "meet on a bilateral basis."

Published under: Ukraine Invasion