Russian troops were ‘kicked’ out of Kyiv instead of withdrawing as Moscow claims, Ukrainian MP says
Matthew Loh – March 30, 2022
- Russia withdrew its forces near Kyiv because its troops were “kicked” out, a Ukrainian MP said, per CNN.
- The troop scaleback announced by Moscow was really to “save face,” said MP Anastasia Radina.
- During a visit to the US, she and other Ukrainian lawmakers warned that negotiations with Russia should not be trusted.
A Ukrainian member of parliament said Russia’s intention in withdrawing troops from the Kyiv region was to “save face” and that its forces had been “kicked” out, casting doubt on whether Moscow genuinely is interested in making peace.
“We feel these are not real peace talks at this point,” said MP Anastasia Radina, head of the Ukrainian Parliament’s anti-corruption committee, per CNN.
“We feel that what Russia is doing is trying to save face. They say they are withdrawing troops from the Kyiv region. That’s not true for one simple reason: They’re not withdrawing… They were kicked [out],” Radina continued.
She and another Ukrainian MP — Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Integration of Ukraine to the European Union — spoke to reporters on Wednesday while visiting Washington DC, CNN’s Natasha Bertrand reported.
Klympush-Tsintsadze shared Radina’s skepticism over Russia’s claims that it is working to achieve peace with Ukraine, calling the recent ceasefire negotiations a “smokescreen” by Russian President Vladimir Putin to buy his forces time to regroup, according to CNN.
The lawmakers had traveled to the US to push members of Congress for more military equipment — such as fighter jets and air defense systems — and aid to be provided to Ukraine, and for more punitive economic measures to be taken against Russia, according to The Associated Press.
One of their key messages to the US was to not put faith in negotiations with Moscow, AP reported.
“Putin cannot be trusted,” said Yevheniya Kravchuk, a Ukrainian MP, per the outlet.
On Tuesday, delegations from Ukraine and Russia met in Istanbul, Turkey, for the fourth round of ceasefire negotiations.
Kyiv and Moscow were both reported to have shown a willingness to concede earlier sticking points, with Ukraine offering complete neutrality in exchange for security guarantees and Russia dropping several of its initial core demands like the “denazification” of its neighbor.
However, it remains unclear whether a genuine ceasefire can be brokered soon, with either side having downplayed the possibility of a significant breakthrough before and after the talks.
Shortly after the Istanbul meeting, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin announced that Moscow would dial down its military assaults on Kyiv and Chernihiv in northern Ukraine.
Fomin said Russia’s decision aimed “to increase mutual trust and create the necessary conditions for further negotiations and achieving the ultimate goal of agreeing on the signing of the above [peace] agreement.”
The Pentagon and Ukrainian military later questioned Russia’s motives for its apparent scaleback, saying the Kremlin was likely repositioning troops for a push into other war fronts. Despite its claims of pulling back, Russia continued to bombard Kyiv’s suburbs after the peace talks.
Klympush-Tsintsadze on Wednesday also mentioned another obstacle for the ceasefire effort: Ukraine’s neutrality from NATO would need to be put to a referendum that she and her colleagues say is unlikely to pass.
“Neutrality is not an option for Ukraine,” she said, per CNN. “I want everybody to understand we were non-aligned. We were a non-bloc country back in 2014. It did not preclude Putin from attacking us at that point. And it did not preclude him from grabbing part of our territory. So it will not stop him.”
It has been 35 days since Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. According to the United Nation’s latest tally, at least 1,179 Ukrainian civilians have been killed in the war, while 1,860 have been injured. However, the UN noted that the actual casualty figures are likely far higher.