“We do not have any plans to invade anybody, least of all Ukraine,” Says Ambassador Filatov


The ambassador spoke to Irish broadcaster RTÉ on Monday and dismissed a question about a potential invasion.

“We do not have any political, economic, military or [any] other reason to do that,” he said.

“The whole idea is insane. If you knew something about the Russian and Ukrainian people you would never ask such a question,” Filatov went on.

Filatov said he had not spoken to the Russian Defense Ministry and could not provide details about troop withdrawals, but he indicated Russian forces would return to normal activities within weeks.

“What I can tell [you] is, within maybe three to four weeks, the configuration of the forces in the western region of Russia will resume its normal standard posture,” Filatov said.


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“We are conducting planned exercises with Belarusian military forces. They will be over by February 20 and these troops will be withdrawn. You can check on that next week,” he said.

February 20 is the final day of the Winter Olympics currently underway in Beijing, and the Biden administration has previously warned that Russia could invade Ukraine before the conclusion of the Games. The Russian government has denied it has any plans to invade.

Filatov would not be drawn on where the troops would withdraw from or how far they would move from the Ukrainian border.

“They will go exactly where they need to go. They are going in the Russian territory,” the ambassador said. “This is nobody’s business at all.”

Despite Russian claims that they are pulling troops back, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday: “So far we have not seen any de-escalation on the ground, not any signs of reduced Russian military presence on the borders of Ukraine.”

Stoltenberg repeated those concerns in comments on Wednesday, saying: “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,” he said at the beginning of a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Belgium.

“If they really start to withdraw forces, that’s something we will welcome,” Stoltenberg said. “They have always moved forces back and forth so just that we see movement of forces, of battle tanks, doesn’t confirm a real withdrawal.”

President Joe Biden said at the White House on Tuesday that the U.S. had “not yet verified” Russian troop withdrawals.

“The fact remains right now Russia has more than 150,000 troops circling Ukraine and Belarus and along Ukraine’s border,” the president said.

“An invasion remains distinctly possible,” Biden said. “That’s why I’ve asked several times that all Americans in Ukraine leave now before it’s too late to leave safely.”


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