The US ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Julianne Smith, said the US is “monitoring the situation” after the Kremlin announced the return of some Russian troops to their bases following the completion of military exercises, adding that the US “will have to verify” claims of a potential move towards de-escalation by Russia.
“We have noticed today that Russia is claiming that they are moving towards some sort of de-escalation. We are monitoring the situation,” Smith said Tuesday.
“We will have to verify whether or not that is in fact the case,” she added.
Speaking during a press briefing in Brussels, Smith further noted that Russia “made a similar claim” regarding a potential de-escalation of tensions in December, but this later proved false.
“When we went in to verify, we actually found no signs of that. And since then, we've only seen Russian forces moving in the opposite direction,” Smith continued.
Earlier on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov acknowledged the return of some Russian troops to their bases, noting during a press briefing that this is a “normal process” after the completion of military exercises.
“Russia has conducted and will continue to conduct military exercises throughout the territory of the Russian Federation — this is an ongoing process, as in all countries of the world,” he added.