Movement of Russian forces alone does not confirm withdrawal, NATO says

NATO Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks ahead of a NATO Defence Ministers meeting in Brussels, Belgium, February 16, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

BRUSSELS, Feb 16 (Reuters) - NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg urged Moscow again on Wednesday to prove that it is pulling back troops amid tensions over a military build-up on Ukraine's borders, saying soldiers and tanks often move about.

"It remains to be seen whether there is a Russian withdrawal ... What we see is that they have increased the number of troops, and more troops are on the way," Stoltenberg told reporters at the start of a two-day meeting of NATO defence ministers at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels.

"If they really start to withdraw forces, that's something we will welcome ... They have always moved forces back and forth so just that we see movement of forces, of battle tanks, doesn't confirm a real withdrawal."

Reporting by Robin Emmott, Sabine Siebold and Phil Stewart

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