Joe Biden
Joe Biden REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday expressed skepticism after Russia announced that it would scale back military operations near the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, The Associated Press reported.

Biden, during an appearance with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong following bilateral talks at the White House, said he was waiting to see what Russia offers in ongoing talks with Ukraine and how Moscow readjusts its troop presence.

Russia earlier on Tuesday said it would dial back operations in Ukraine in an effort to increase trust in ongoing talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials in Turkey.

“We’ll see," Biden said. "I don’t read anything into it until I see what their actions are.”

White House communications director Kate Bedingfield later expressed an even greater skepticism, saying the administration views any movement of Russian forces as a “redeployment and not a withdrawal" and “no one should be fooled by Russia's announcement.”

“The world should be prepared for a major offensive against other areas of Ukraine,” Bedingfield said, according to AP. "Everyone should expect that we’re going to continue to see attacks across Ukraine."

Biden’s comments came a day after he reiterated that he was not announcing a change in US policy when he said on the weekend that Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power".

"I just was expressing my outrage. He shouldn't remain in power, just like, you know, bad people shouldn't continue to do bad things," Biden said in response to a question from CNN's Kaitlan Collins at the White House.

"But it doesn't mean we have a fundamental policy to do anything to take Putin down in any way," he added.

Biden made the controversial comment at the end of an address in Warsaw. Mentioning Putin, the President said, "For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power".

A White House official later said the line was not in Biden's pre-prepared speech.

The controversial comment came a day after Biden for a second time called Putin a "war criminal".

According to ABC News, Biden said, "The single most important thing that we can do from the outset is to keep the democracies united in our opposition and our effort to curtail the devastation that is occurring at the hands of a man who I quite frankly think is a war criminal."

"I think it will meet the legal definition of that as well," he added.