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Russia to pull troops back from near Ukraine

Russia to pull troops back from near Ukraine

Russia to pull troops back from near Ukraine

After weeks of tension over a build-up of Russian troops close to

Ukraine’s border, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has

ordered a number of units in the area back to their bases.

The EU estimated that more than 100,000 Russian soldiers had

amassed near the border as well as in Crimea, which was seized

and annexed by Russia in 2014.

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Speaking in Crimea, Mr Shoigu said units on exercise would return to base.

The aims of the “snap checks” had been achieved, he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who earlier challenged

Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet him in the conflict zone,

welcomed the decision to “de-escalate” tensions at the border.

“The troops have demonstrated their ability to provide a credible defense
for the country,” the Russian defence minister said, adding that he had
instructed the commanders of units from the 58th and 41st armies as
well as several airborne divisions to start returning to their permanent
bases on Friday and to complete the operation by 1 May.

President Zelensky raised the troop build-up with European leaders last week.

Nato leaders also sounded the alarm and called a summit in

June when Russia will be high on the agenda.

Although Russia has shrugged off the build-up as training exercises in

response to “threatening” actions from Nato, it is also said to be

planning to cordon off areas of the Black Sea to foreign shipping.

Ukraine fears its ports could be affected.

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