Recall that before they went into Ukraine the Russians completely denied an invasion was imminent. It was training, or prescheduled exercises, or whatnot. Well, their supposed withdrawal from around Kyiv could be the same sort of “maskirova.”

The US isn’t putting much credence into Russian claims and neither are the Ukrainians. Kyiv remains ready for an all out assault and the arms pipeline from the West has not abated. Putin will have to do a lot more than redeploy forces to convince anyone of his credibility.

FNC: “Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday warned Russia against targeting eastern Ukraine and voiced skepticism that scaling back forces around Kyiv would aid peace talks. The secretary’s comments came just hours after Russian defense officials said they would move troops away from the capital city of Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv to ‘increase mutual trust’ in its peace talks with Ukraine.”

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“If they somehow believe that an effort to subjugate only…the eastern or southern part of Ukraine can succeed, then once again they are profoundly fooling themselves,” Blinken told press. “We’ve seen the will and determination of Ukrainians to determine their own future. I think that will continue to be expressed one way or another in all parts of the country,” Blinken added.

“I can’t tell you whether these statements reflect some reorientation of the aggression. Or whether this is a means by which Russia once again is trying to deflect and deceive people,” Blinken said. “Whether it’s simply trying to reroute given the heavy losses that it has suffered – I don’t know,” he added.

A U.S. defense official confirmed Blinken’s assessment and told media that “No one should be fooled by Russia’s announcements. We believe any movement of Russian forces from around Kyiv is a redeployment, not a withdrawal, and the world should be prepared for a major offensive against other areas of Ukraine. It also does not mean the threat to Kyiv is over,” the official added. “Russia has failed in its objective of capturing Kyiv, and failed in its objective of subjugating all of Ukraine, but it can still inflict massive brutality on the country, including Kyiv.”