Speed Reads

take it with a grain of salt

Don't be fooled by Russia's promise to scale back offensive, U.S. official says

A U.S. official warned on Tuesday that "no one should be fooled by Russia's announcements" about scaling back military operations in northern Ukraine, CNN reports.

In what many viewed as a sign that peace talks in Istanbul have begun to bear fruit, a Russian deputy defense minister said Tuesday that Russia has agreed to "reduce military activity" around Kyiv and the northern Ukrainian city of Chernihiv.

However, "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 U.S. official said, adding that although Russian forces have so far failed to encircle Kyiv, they can still "inflict massive brutality" on the capital and on the country as a whole.

In recent days Ukraine's military has retaken territory in the Kyiv suburbs, but the strategically located southern port city of Mariupol has fallen either entirely or almost entirely under Russian control.

The U.S. official also said "any movement of Russian forces from around Kyiv" is likely "a redeployment, not a withdrawal."

On Sunday, Ukrainian defense officials said some of the Russian units that had been advancing on the capital had withdrawn to Belarus to regroup and re-arm, The Hill reported.