Biden says the US is still looking for clear answers about Putin’s next steps

Biden says the US is still looking for clear answers about Putin's next steps

“So far there is no clear evidence that he is withdrawing all of his forces from Kyiv,” Biden told reporters at the White House.

“There is also evidence that he is strengthening his forces in the Donbass region” — a region of Ukraine where Putin lives, Biden said, preferring two breakaway regions as independent states. “Based on your view of Putin, I’m a bit skeptical,” he added.

On Tuesday, state media quoted the Russian Defense Ministry as saying it had decided to “significantly reduce the fighting towards Kyiv and Chernigov”.

Earlier on Thursday, a US defense official told reporters that Russian forces continued to target Ukraine in four regions, including the capital.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said Thursday that “a small number” of Russian forces “have begun to shift positions,” and while it was “not entirely clear ‘where the forces are going’, the United States sees no indication that it will go.” ” It is sent home.”

The best assessment the United States has, Kirby added, is that Russian forces are likely to be moved into Belarus to supply and resupply them for use “elsewhere in Ukraine.”

Kirby added that the United States had seen some Russian forces leave the Chernobyl plant in Ukraine. Those forces are “leaving the north to return to Belarus,” Kirby said.

Amid the repositioning, the White House insists that there are no plans for Biden and Putin to speak. Any conversation between the two men would require a serious de-escalation by the Russians in Ukraine, which poses a significant obstacle to re-engagement, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield said Thursday.

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US intelligence says its military advisers misled Putin

On Wednesday, the US government released declassified information indicating that … Putin’s military advisers have been misled about how badly the Russian military is doing in Ukraine and how the Russian economy is being hampered by sanctions. Bedingfield said at the time that US intelligence also had information indicating that the Russian leader had become aware of the disinformation, which led to a rift between him and his top defense officials.

US government officials expressed confidence in the intelligence, with Bedingfield saying that Putin is being misled “because his top advisers are afraid to tell him the truth.”

The official Russian news agency TASS, in response to allegations of US intelligence, said that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov indicated that the United States does not understand what is happening in Moscow.

Unfortunately, even with concern, neither the State Department nor the Pentagon has any real information about what is happening in the Kremlin. They do not understand what is happening in the Kremlin. They do not understand Russian President Vladimir Putin. They do not understand Russian President Vladimir Putin. No, Peskov said Thursday. They understand the decision-making process, they don’t understand how we work.”

Biden said later Thursday that there was some evidence that Putin was isolating himself and punishing some of his advisers, but added that the United States did not have a lot of hard evidence to confirm this.

When CNN’s MJ Lee asked the president how badly his advisers had misled Putin, Biden replied, “That’s an open question. There’s a lot of speculation, but it looks like – I’m not sure – he has isolated himself and there is evidence that he … has released some of his advisers or put them under house arrest.”

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“But I don’t want to invest in it much at the moment because we don’t have a lot of solid evidence,” he added.

Biden’s comments came after he announced a two-pronged plan to help Americans at the pump that began when Russian oil was sidelined and the United States increased energy independence. As part of the plan, he announced an unprecedented release of oil from US reserves and steps to boost domestic production of the base metals needed to produce batteries for electric cars and for long-term energy storage.

According to Biden, the issuance of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will reach 180 million barrels of oil, or about one million barrels per day.

This story was updated Thursday with additional reporting.

CNN’s Eli Kaufman and Zahratullah contributed to this report.

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