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'US has seen 'no meaningful pullback' of Russian forces', says US Secy. of State Antony Blinken

Source : abc news

'US has seen 'no meaningful pullback' of Russian forces', says US Secy. of State Antony Blinken
The United States Secretary of State, Mr. Antony Blinken (File Photo)

While the Russian Ministry of Defense said some of its troops positioned near Ukraine's border would begin returning to their bases, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told ABC's "Good Morning America" on Wednesday that the U.S. has seen "no meaningful pullback" and described the situation as "deeply, deeply concerning."

"On the contrary, we continue to see forces, especially forces in the vanguard of any renewed aggression against Ukraine, continuing to be at the border, to mass at the border," Blinken said, emphasizing the choice to deescalate is squarely on Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"President Putin's put in place the capacity to act on very short notice," he said. "He can pull the trigger -- he could pull it today. He could pull it tomorrow. He could pull it next week. The forces are there if he wants to renew aggression against Ukraine."

Amid some tensions between U.S. and Ukrainian officials over the level of urgency here, Blinken defended Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, saying the former comedian is "taking it very seriously. He's trying to maintain calm. He doesn't want his people to panic. That's the right thing to do. But I think the Ukrainians are taking it very, very seriously."

ABC News Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked Blinken directly if the threat of attack in Ukraine is "today greater than it was yesterday."

"From day to day, George, you can't say it's higher or lower. It's there. It's there. It's real. We haven't seen a pullback. We'd like to see one. If we see one, we would welcome it," Blinken said. "We're prepared for diplomacy. We're prepared for aggression prepared either way."

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