WARSAW (WNI) — U.S. troops have been arriving in Poland this week following the Biden Administration’s efforts to reassure NATO allies in Europe amid a continued military build-up of Russian forces.
The additional troops come as the U.S. and Britain accuse Russia of orchestrating a ‘false flag’ operation in Eastern Ukraine, a possible pretext for a wider invasion.
The Russia-Ukraine crisis deteriorated notably in the last 24 hours as Russian assurances that it had begun withdrawing troops were rejected. The U.S., U.K. and NATO stated that they had yet to see a real-terms reduction in troops around Ukraine’s borders. The U.S. also accused Russia of deploying an additional 7000 troops, adding further pressure on Ukraine.
In a separate incident, reported shelling in the Donbas region inflamed the rhetoric between Russia and Ukraine, both accusing each other of carrying out the attacks which hit a nursery. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the separatist attack was a “false-flag operation designed to discredit the Ukrainians”.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the United Nations Security Council that Russia must renounce its "path of war" and declare categorically that it would not attack Ukraine.
While efforts to de-escalate a military confrontation continue, Russia maintained its desire for a peaceful solution, signalling negotiations being preferred, but pointing out that it didn’t want Ukraine to become a NATO member, and needed security guarantees.