Ukraine crisis: Russian troops cross Crimean bridge on way to permanent deployment after drills

In this photo taken from video provided by the Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2022, Russian army tanks move back to their permanent base after drills in Russia

Moscow [Russia]: A convoy with military equipment of the Russian Southern Military District units crossed the Crimean bridge on the way to the places of permanent deployment following the planned drills in Crimea, the Russian Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.

"The units of the Southern Military District, which have completed participation in tactical exercises at the test sites of the Crimean Peninsula, are heading to the points of permanent disposition by rail. The personnel of the unit conducted the loading of caterpillar-tracked armored vehicles -- tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and self-propelled artillery weapons on railway platforms at entraining stations," the ministry said in a statement, reported Sputnik.

Furthermore, the Russian Defence Ministry said on Tuesday that some of the troops gathered around Ukraine are being sent back to their bases. However, other drills, including in Belarus and off Ukraine's Black Sea coast, were continuing.

On this US President Joe Biden on Tuesday said that Washington is ready to respond decisively to the Russian attack on Ukraine. "We are ready to respond decisively to the Russian attack on Ukraine which is still very much a possibility," Biden said in remarks at the White House.

President Biden acknowledged reports on Tuesday that Russia has ordered the partial withdrawal of its troops near Ukraine's borders, but stressed that the US has "not yet verified" the Kremlin's claims and that an invasion remains "distinctly possible".

"We have not yet verified that the Russian military units are returning to their home bases -- indeed, our analysts indicate that they remain very much in a threatening position, and the fact remains right now Russia has more than 150,000 troops circling Ukraine and Belarus, and along Ukraine's border and invasion remains distinctly possible."

"We are not seeking direct confrontation with Russia though I have been clear if Russia targets Americans in Ukraine, we will respond forcefully," the US President asserted.

Notably, over the past few months, the United States and its European partners have grown worried about Russia's military activity near the Ukrainian border in alleged preparation for an "invasion."

Moscow has denied the accusation, repeatedly stating that it is not threatening anyone and at the same time expressing strong concerns over NATO's military activity near Russian borders, which it deems a threat to its national security. Moscow has also said it has the right to move troops within its national territory. ANI

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