Russia Prepares To Fire

( On Monday, a senior Russian military official said Russia was prepared to fire on foreign ships or submarines that would illegally enter its territorial waters, but any such decision would only be taken at the highest level.

Over the weekend, Moscow claimed it had chased a US submarine out of Russian waters in the Pacific. However, the United States denied it had any vessels operating in Russian territorial waters.

According to Stanislav Gadzhimagomedov, deputy head of the main operational department of the General Staff, while Russian forces are able to adequately counter the US fleet in both the Black and Baltic Seas, it does not have enough ships and plans at the moment to do the same in the far east.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed a partial drawdown of Russian forces near the Ukraine border. And on Wednesday, Russia said further withdrawals of Russian forces were underway.

However, NATO officials, skeptical of the news, have demanded Moscow provide proof these troops were pulling back.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters at the start of a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels that it remains to be seen if Russian forces are withdrawing from the region.

The Kremlin, however, said NATO was wrong in saying there is no evidence of the drawdown and reiterated Putin’s desire to resolve the issue through negotiations.

The Russian defense ministry published video footage it claims shows tanks, infantry vehicles, and self-propelled artillery units leaving the Crimean peninsula.

Officials in Ukraine said they aren’t taking Moscow at its word about a drawdown. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister told reporters on Tuesday “we’ll believe it when we see it.”

In a brief address from the White House Tuesday afternoon, President Biden claimed over 150,000 Russian troops were still positioned near Ukraine’s borders. The president said the US has not verified that any drawdown of these troops is underway.

When it announced some units were returning to base after completion of exercises, Russia mocked the warnings of “imminent invasion” calling them hysterical war propaganda.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the West of manufacturing “manic information madness.” He said Moscow has always said the troops would return to their bases once the exercises ended.