Russia says withdrawing troops, White House: No evidence seen

On the 15th, the Russian military said that some troops were withdrawing from the vicinity of Ukraine. European and American stock markets rose across the board, while oil and gold prices fell. But U.S. President Biden said in a statement that the U.S. has not confirmed Russia’s claims, and there is still an obvious possibility of an invasion. Russian President Vladimir Putin also did not commit to a full withdrawal of troops, saying that it depends on the follow-up situation. The outside world believes that the release of the withdrawal license is only for negotiation, and Putin will do everything in his power to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO.

On the 15th, the Russian Ministry of Defense released photos of tanks and howitzers driving on the rail platform, as well as tanks driving in the snow, saying that these military deployments are returning to the base, but did not disclose the location and time of the photos, nor the whereabouts of the vehicles. The U.S. is also skeptical of Moscow’s intentions, with Biden saying sanctions against Russia could have a major blow to the U.S. economy, including rising prices and disrupting energy supplies, but stressing that “if we don’t support freedoms at risk today, tomorrow There will definitely be a higher price to pay.”

CNN reported that if the Russian-Ukrainian crisis pushes oil prices to around $110 a barrel, U.S. inflation will exceed 10%. JPMorgan Chase warned that any disruption to the Russian oil trade would see oil prices rise above $120, and that if oil rose to $110, U.S. gross domestic product would lose about 1% next year.

Putin insists that Ukraine cannot join NATO, so the move would pose a major security threat to Russia. When the German Chancellor met Putin on the 15th, he promised that NATO expansion was not on the agenda, but Putin said, “They told us that it will not happen tomorrow. When will it happen? The day after tomorrow? History makes no difference.”

Biden said 150,000 Russian troops were now concentrated near Ukraine and Belarus, up from an earlier U.S. estimate of 130,000. “Russia claims the withdrawal is fine, but we haven’t confirmed that. In fact, our analysts say Ukraine is still in a very dangerous situation,” he said.

Ukraine also expressed skepticism about Russia’s withdrawal statement, saying it had to see it. The NATO secretary general also said that so far he has seen no sign of Russia reducing its military presence on the Ukrainian border, adding that NATO would like to see a large and sustained withdrawal of troops. However, the cyber-attack war has already begun, with a series of cyber-attacks on the Ukrainian military, the Ministry of Defense and major banking websites on the 15th. But the U.S. said it had not yet identified who was behind it.

Russia is a producer of many commodities, ranking first in the production of natural gas, oil, nickel, palladium, copper, coal, potash, wheat, etc. Disruptions to Russian exports, regardless of Putin’s decision or economic sanctions, will push up the cost of goods, exacerbating global inflationary pressures and supply chain disruptions.

Russia is the world’s largest supplier of palladium to catalytic converters that clean vehicle exhaust, and an intrusion could disrupt the teetering auto supply chain. In 2018, in order to fight against Russia, the United States launched actions against seven major Russian chaebols and related companies, including Rusal, a Russian aluminum producer. Since Rusal is the world’s third aluminum and alumina producer, it accounts for 6% of global aluminum and alumina production. U.S. sanctions have sent aluminum prices soaring 30 percent.

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