BEIJING, February 16. /TASS/. Washington’s exaggerated ‘war-is-imminent’ hype has dealt a blow to Ukraine’s economy and social stability, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a briefing on Wednesday.
"Over the past several days, the American side has been inflating the threat of war, artificially creating a tense atmosphere which has seriously damaged the economy, social stability, and the living conditions of the Ukrainian people as well as increased resistance to advancing negotiations and dialogue between the parties concerned," the diplomat said.
He hoped that the West "will cease to spread such false information, will do more to facilitate peace, mutual trust, and cooperation."
During a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Sergey Shoigu, the nation’s defense chief, reported on the drills of Russia’s armed forces in various waters, in the Central Military District and in Belarus. The top military official informed the president that some of them are already "nearing conclusion, and others will be completed in the near future." Later, the Defense Ministry issued a statement that Russian troops would return to their permanent military bases once the exercise ends. That said, the ministry noted that the units of the Southern and Western Military Districts had already started loading equipment for transport and would begin heading out on Tuesday.
As US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday, the US leadership would welcome Russia returning its troops to their permanent bases following the drills, yet Washington could not yet confirm whether this was happening. According to Biden, "Russia has more than 150,000 troops" near the Ukrainian border and "invasion remains distinctly possible."
Lately, Ukraine and the West have been increasingly echoing claims of an alleged Russian "invasion" of Ukraine ever more frequently. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov branded such information as an "empty and groundless" escalation of tensions, emphasizing that Russia does not pose a threat to anyone. That said, he didn’t exclude the possibility of provocations being whipped up in order to justify such claims and warned that attempts to resolve the problem in southeastern Ukraine through the use of force would carry the most serious consequences.