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“I don’t read anything into it until I see what their actions are,” Biden said of Russia’s pledge. Pentagon spokesman John Kirby echoed this stance, saying that “nobody should be fooling” themselves by believing the Kremlin’s claim. Kirby confirmed an assessment by a top U.S. general that a small number of Russian troops had moved away from Kyiv but said officials believe it is “a repositioning, not a real withdrawal.” A major offensive in other parts of Ukraine is still possible, he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said late Tuesday that news from the negotiations was “positive” but that Kyiv has “no reason to trust" Moscow’s assurances. “These signals do not silence the explosion of Russian shells,” he said.
During the peace talks, which took place in Istanbul, Ukrainian representatives outlined a proposal that included an agreement by their country to drop its bid to join NATO and a 15-year timeline for negotiations with Russia over the status of Crimea. Still, as diplomats met in Turkey, the fighting continued in Ukraine.
War in Ukraine: What you need to know
The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of troops in an address to the nation on Sept. 21, framing the move as an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against a West that seeks to use Ukraine as a tool to “divide and destroy Russia.” Follow our live updates here.
The fight: A successful Ukrainian counteroffensive has forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in recent days, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.
Annexation referendums: Staged referendums, which would be illegal under international law, are set to take place from Sept. 23 to 27 in the breakaway Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies. Another staged referendum will be held by the Moscow-appointed administration in Kherson starting Friday.
Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.