A Russian attack on Ukraine is “still very much a possibility” and the human cost would be “immense”, US President Joe Biden has said.
In remarks televised nationally, he said the US was ready to respond decisively to such a move.
Mr Biden said Russia had massed some 150,000 troops on Ukraine’s borders.
Russia says it is pulling back some of its troops. On Wednesday, it announced that military drills in Moscow-annexed Crimea had ended.
“Units of the Southern Military District, having completed their participation in tactical exercises, are moving to their permanent deployment points,” the defence ministry said in a statement, without detailing how many troops were leaving.
Footage broadcast on state television appeared to show military vehicles crossing the bridge to leave Crimea.
But Western leaders remain wary, with Nato saying there were no signs yet of a de-escalation.
“On the contrary,” secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said, “it appears that Russia continues their military build-up”.
His comments, ahead of a meeting of the military alliance’s defence ministers, echoed Mr Biden’s remarks on Tuesday, when he said Russia’s withdrawal “would be good” but had not yet been verified.
“Indeed, our analysts indicate that they remain very much in a threatening position,” the president said.
Also on Tuesday, Ukraine said the websites of its defence ministry and two banks came under a cyber-attack. The cause is not clear but Ukraine has suffered large-scale attacks before on its online infrastructure and has pointed the finger at Russia.
Russia’s government, however, has denied any involvement.
There has long been concern that, rather than a full-scale invasion, Russia could use less obvious means to destabilise Ukraine, for example through cyber-attacks on critical infrastructure. President Biden said the US was prepared to respond to any such move.
Mr Biden’s speech came hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin said Moscow’s security concerns should be addressed and taken seriously.
Mr Putin has always denied planning an incursion, and said Russia did not want another war in Europe. However, tensions have been rising since November.
Following earlier reports that US intelligence believed Russia could attack Ukraine on Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky declared it to be a day of unity, calling on citizens to wave the country’s flag and wear blue and yellow ribbons – Ukraine’s national colours.
Israel's interior ministry says it has deported a Palestinian-French human rights lawyer after accusing him of security threats. Salah Hamouri, 37, was escorted onto a flight to France by police early on Sunday morning, the ministry said. A lifelong resident of...
Lebanon is determined to uncover the circumstances that led to the killing of an Irish UN peacekeeper, caretaker prime minister Najib Mikati said during a visit to the headquarters of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil) on Friday. Private Sean Rooney, 23, was...
Submit your event
We will be happy to share your events. Please email us the details and pictures at email@example.com
P.O. Box: 311001 Independance, Ohio, 44131
+1 (216) 269 3272