Russia starts Ukraine border troops withdrawal

Russia starts Ukraine border troops withdrawal
Mon Mar 31, 2014 20:06:34

Russian troops deployed on the border with Ukraine have started their gradual withdrawal, Ukrainian Defense Ministry announces.

The Ministry’s announcement came on Monday after US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met on Sunday in Paris.

Kerry and Lovrov agreed to solve the Ukrainian crisis through negotiations.

“In recent days, the Russian forces have been gradually withdrawing from the border,” the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s general staff spokesman, Oleksiy Dmytrashkivskiy, said.

Dmytrashkivskiy added that he could not confirm how many soldiers were involved or the number of troops still stationed in the border area.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian Defense Ministry official noted that Kiev had not been formally informed of the drawdown by Moscow.

“This could be linked to a regular rotation of soldiers,” said Dmytrashkivskiy, adding, “Or it may be linked to the Russian-US negotiations.”

Earlier, the US and EU officials had estimated that Russia might have 30,000 to 40,000 troops near the border.

However, Kiev's Center for Military and Political Studies analyst Dmytro Tymchuk suggested on Monday that Moscow had 10,000 soldiers stationed near Ukraine by Monday morning.


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