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Scepticism greets Russian pledge to deescalate around Kyiv

SpaceWar.com reports: “Ukraine and Western allies waited Wednesday for signs Moscow was ‘radically’ reducing military activity around Kyiv, as promised in peace talks, with scepticism high after Washington warned Russian troops were being repositioned and not withdrawn.

Both sides called talks in Istanbul ‘meaningful’ and ‘positive’, in sharp contrast to previous rounds, raising hopes after more than a month of war that has killed thousands and displaced millions.

Russia’s deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin said there was progress on ‘the neutrality and non-nuclear status’ of Ukraine — two central Russian concerns.

And he said Russia would ‘radically, by several times reduce the military activity’ around Kyiv and the northern city of Chernigiv.

But the pledge was met with scepticism in Ukraine and Western capitals, with the Pentagon saying Russia had merely repositioned a ‘small number’ of forces near Kyiv, but could be preparing a ‘major offensive’ elsewhere.

The ‘vast majority’ of Russian forces around Kyiv remained in place, said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby…”

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