Russia news: Blinken sends Putin dire warning on pullback Were prepared for aggression

Russia: US 'hasn't seen a pull back' from Putin says Blinken

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Antony Blinken appeared on Good Morning America where he was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos about reports that Russia has pulled back troops from the Ukrainian border. Mr Blinken and other officials are doubtful Russia is leaving the region as the country is urged to continue diplomatic talks. But as the US statesman was asked whether things were safer today than earlier in the week, Mr Blinken delivered a stern ultimatum to Vladimir Putin and his Government.

Speaking on Good Morning America, Mr Blinken delivered an update on the Ukraine situation and did not believe the pullback of troops was happening. 

When asked if the threat was “greater today than yesterday”, Mr Blinken was noticeably coy.

He said: “You know, from day to day George you can’t say it’s higher or lower, it’s there.

“It’s there, it’s real, we haven’t seen a pullback, we’d like to see one, if we see one we’d welcome it.

“We’re prepared for diplomacy, we’re prepared for aggression, we’re prepared either way.”

Mr Blinken also shared his observations regarding Ukraine in a separate interview with MSNBC 

He added: “There’s what Russia says and then there’s what Russia does. And we haven’t seen any pullback of its forces.

“We continue to see critical units moving toward the border, not away from the border…

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“So what we need to see is exactly the opposite. We need to see these forces moving away.”

NATO is also sceptical about the Russian pullback with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg sharing his thoughts with reporters.

He said: “It remains to be seen whether there is a Russian withdrawal … What we see is that they have increased the number of troops, and more troops are on the way.”

Mr Stoltenberg is meeting with NATO defence ministers in Brussels as part of a two-day conference addressing the issue in Ukraine.

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He reiterates that NATO “is not a threat to Russia” and said: “While we continue to work for the best, we must also be prepared for the worst.

“We will do what is necessary to protect and defend all allies.”

Russia has claimed it is pulling back troops from the border as tensions ramped this week following fears of a potential invasion on Wednesday.

Western forces are doubtful Russia is conducting a withdrawal as they believe many thousands of troops are still in the region.

Ukraine was also the victim of a cyberattack on Tuesday which wiped out the website of the Defence Ministry and two banks via a DDoS attack.

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