Pentagon sources have said the invading forces are “walking away from the Chernobyl facility” and are headed to Belarus, having captured the site on February 24 when they first entered Ukraine.
The US believe that Putin is not withdrawing his forces but is instead redistributing them as his invasion fails to make significant progress after they were faced with fierce resistance from Ukraine.
There were initial fears heavy fighting around the plant could spark another nuclear catastrophe, reported The Sun, as it still holds dangerous radioactive material.
Ukrainian officials lost contact with Chernobyl after the Russians took it over, however the US official said that soldiers had been seen “walking away” from the power plant.
They said: “Chernobyl is [an] area where they [the Russians] are beginning to reposition some of their troops.
“[The Russians are] leaving, walking away from the Chernobyl facility and moving into Belarus.
“We think that they are leaving. I can’t tell you that they’re all gone.”
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said on Wednesday that many Russian troops around Kyiv have been seen heading north in the direction of Belarus.
He said “We don’t know exactly where these troops are going to go”, but believed that Putin is using the opportunity to resupply and reposition his army.
READ MORE: Putin humiliation as Russian troops are ‘switching sides’ to join
“The combat potential of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has been considerably reduced, which…makes it possible to focus our core efforts on achieving the main goal, the liberation of Donbas.”
He also claimed that Russia had “practically” destroyed the Ukrainian air force, anti-aircraft defences and the navy.
The Russian defence ministry said that Russian-backed separatists control 93 percent of Luhansk and 54 percent of Donetsk, the regions that make up the Donbas.