No Ukraine attack, not today, not next week, not next month – Russian ambassador

No Ukraine attack, not today, not next week, not next month – Russian ambassador
The Russian ambassador quipped that European wars rarely begin on Wednesdays. This one did. Credit: Russian Mission to EU

Russia's ambassador to the European Union said there will be no attack on Ukraine "not today, not next week and not next month".

Vladimir Chishov, one of the longest-serving high-ranking diplomats in Brussels, made the remarks in German daily Die Welt timed for NATO defence ministers gathering for two days of talks in the Belgian capital.

One of the few senior diplomats authorised to speak publicly, Chishov's stance was published just as reports citing US intelligence sources tipped a move on Ukraine in the early hours of Wednesday.

"As regards Russia, I can assure you there will be no attack on Wednesday," Chishov was quoted as saying. "There will not be any escalation next week either, not the one after that and not over the course of the next month," he declared.

Chishov was quoted as quipping during his interview that "European wars rarely begin on a Wednesday."

NATO chief says Alliance 'exposing' Russian double-talk

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Tuesday a partial troop withdrawal from the border with Ukraine.

Putin said that Russia would keep pushing for its central demands of a rollback of the NATO presence in Eastern Europe and a guarantee that Ukraine never joins the alliance.

Allies have refused to give any such undertaking.

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With the propaganda war showing no sign of abating any time soon, NATO stuck to its position that the Alliance was "exposing" Russian double-talk while expressing "cautious optimism".

"We really hope that Russia will engage in meaningful dialogue and choose diplomacy instead of confrontation," Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters as ministers gathered at the alliance's Brussels headquarters.

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