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NATO Chief Says Russian Forces Near Kyiv 'Repositioning,' Not Withdrawing

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (file photo)

Russia is repositioning its forces around Kyiv and not conducting a real “withdrawal,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, as he warned that new attacks could take place.

“What we see is not a withdrawal, but we see that Russia is repositioning its troops," the NATO chief told CNN in an interview on April 3.

"We should not in a way be too optimistic because the attacks will continue and we are also concerned about potential increased attacks," he said.

U.S. and Western officials have downplayed suggestions in recent days that Russian forces were withdrawing, saying instead that they were likely repositioning and resupplying — and possibly gearing up for a new offensive in the eastern Donbas region.

Meanwhile, Stoltenberg labeled the reported killings of civilians in the Ukrainian city of Bucha as "horrific."

"It is a brutality against civilians we haven't seen in Europe for decades, and it's horrific, and it's absolutely unacceptable," Stoltenberg said.

In a separate interview with CNN, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also expressed revulsion at the sight of civilian bodies strewn along Bucha’s streets.

"You can't help but see these images as a punch to the gut," Blinken said.

"This is the reality of what's going on every single day as long as Russia's brutality against Ukraine continues," he added.

Russia has faced mounting international condemnation amid reports of possible war crimes committed by its forces in Bucha, a Kyiv suburb, and in other parts of Ukraine.

Based on reporting by CNN and AFP