Russia Will Pull Out Its Troops from Ukrainian Border

World | April 22, 2021, Thursday // 16:07|  views

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Russia said it will begin pulling thousands of troops back from areas near the Ukrainian border starting Friday, in a step that could calm tensions with the West that have surged in recent weeks.

The military units will return to their bases by May 1, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday in Crimea, where he’s on a visit to review maneuvers.

Nato, EU and US officials say Russia moved as many as 100,000 troops, as well as tanks, warplanes and other equipment, to areas near the border with Ukraine in recent weeks, the largest such buildup in years. The U.S. and its European allies have called on the Kremlin to pull the forces back but Moscow has said it’s free to deploy its military wherever needed on its territory.
 
Russian Defense Minister Shoigu reportedly said that the goals of these surprise military checks were fulfilled completely. Russian forces "showed their ability to reliably defend the country”.

“Moscow thinks that it got its message across,” said Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, which advises the Kremlin. “There’s been some de-escalation and now the confrontation has returned to the political and diplomatic sphere.”

Amid the crisis, U.S. President Joe Biden called Vladimir Putin to appeal to the Russian leader to reduce tensions, offering the prospect of a summit meeting later this year, a gesture welcomed in Moscow.

On Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the situation “extremely tense and very worrying as a result of the concentration of forces on the Russian side of the Ukrainian border.” She and other western leaders had repeatedly appealed to the Kremlin to de-escalate.

Putin on Wednesday warned the West against crossing Russia’s “red line” but his spokesman Thursday declined to specify where that line lies with regard to Ukraine.

Russia denied its buildup was a threat to Ukraine but the Kremlin had charged the government in Kyiv with planning an assault on Donbas separatist regions in the east of the country that are backed by Moscow. The Ukrainian government rejected those claims and accused Moscow of planning a military incursion of its own./bloomberg

 

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Tags: Russia, Ukraine, troops

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