China News Service, February 18 (Zhang Aolin) On February 17, local time, an exchange of fire broke out in the disputed area of ​​eastern Ukraine, and the situation suddenly became tense.

Russia is withdrawing troops from exercises in neighboring Ukraine and said there is a clear timetable for the withdrawal.

  However, the United States did not mean to cool down the situation. US President Biden warned on the 17th that Russia will definitely attack Ukraine in a few days.

A Ukrainian soldier patrols in the Donetsk region of southeastern Ukraine on January 10, 2022.

Russia withdraws troops from exercise

  After the conflict, Ukrainian government forces and Ukrainian armed groups accused each other of "shooting the first shot".

  In response to the current situation, Russian Presidential Press Secretary Peskov said on the 17th that the conflict was initiated by the Ukrainian (government army) side.

  Peskov pointed out that he hoped that Western countries would use their influence to warn the Kiev authorities not to escalate the situation.

  At the same time, the Russian side also stated that the Russian military exercise troops that had previously conducted exercises in adjacent areas with Ukraine have begun to withdraw.

Data map: Russian President's Press Secretary Peskov.

  In response to the US questioning that the Russian army is not really withdrawing, Peskov responded that the "process of withdrawal has already begun", but it will take time, and "it is impossible to withdraw the troops within a day."

  He emphasized that the Russian Ministry of Defense has a clear timetable for the return of troops.

  On the same day, the Russian side confirmed that they had expelled Gorman, the "No. 2 person" and deputy ambassador of the US embassy in Russia.

FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Embassy in Russia.

  After the news came out, the outside world speculated that this was related to the continuous escalation of the situation in Russia and Ukraine.

The U.S. side directly pointed out that Russia’s move is to put pressure on the U.S., and the U.S. side is studying possible response measures.

  However, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zakharova made it clear on the 17th that the move was in response to the unreasonable expulsion of a counselor of the Russian embassy in the United States by the United States, and it was not a deliberate escalation of the situation by Russia.

Biden: Russia will attack within days

  On the US side, the "playbook" appears to be moving in the opposite direction.

  In an interview on the 17th, when asked how high the level of Russia's "invasion" of Ukraine was, Biden replied: "Very high."

  He believes that Russia has not only not withdrawn its troops, but "has sent more troops", and pointed out that the Russian side is conducting "false flag" operations to find an excuse to enter Ukraine.

Data map: US President Biden.

  Biden added, "Every indication we have is that they (Russia) are ready to go into Ukraine and attack Ukraine."

  Asked when the so-called "invasion" will happen, Biden said, "My feeling is that it's going to happen in the next few days."

  In addition, Biden also made it clear that he will not call Russian President Vladimir Putin again in the near future.

Data map: Ukrainian government soldiers.

The latest situation ahead:

  ——The armed organization in eastern Uzbekistan said that the situation near the contact line has deteriorated seriously. The Ukrainian government army "intensively opened fire" on the eastern part of Uzbekistan on the 17th, attacked many "residential areas", and tried to intensify the conflict.

  It also said that Ukrainian government forces planned to land from the sea to seize parts of the coast of the Sea of ​​Azov.

  ——Ukrainian authorities said on the 17th that civilian armed forces in eastern Ukraine launched shelling on the government-controlled area that day, and a kindergarten in Luhansk Oblast was hit, causing two injuries.

  The shelling also damaged parts of nearby infrastructure, causing power outages.

Ukrainian government personnel urgently evacuated local residents.

  Recently, the situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border has continued to be tense.

The two sides have deployed a large number of military personnel and equipment in the border areas of the two countries.

The United States and Ukraine claim that Russia has assembled heavy troops on the Russian-Ukrainian border in preparation for an "invasion" of Ukraine.

Russia has repeatedly denied it, emphasizing that NATO activities threaten Russia's border security, and Russia has the right to mobilize troops within its borders to defend its territory.