Thomson Reuters Foundation

Inform - Connect - Empower

Russia to complete troop pullback from Ukraine border "within days" - deputy defence minister

Source: Reuters - Fri, 23 May 2014 09:01 GMT
Author: Reuters
hum-war
Tweet Recommend Google + LinkedIn Email Print
Leave us a comment

(Adds quotes, context)

MOSCOW, May 23 (Reuters) - Russia will pull back all forces deployed to regions near its border with Ukraine "within a few days", its deputy defence minister said on Friday, a move that if carried out could ease tensions before Ukraine's presidential election on Sunday.

Moscow has concentrated tens of thousands of troops across the border from eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists have declared two independent states.

Kiev and its Western allies see the Russian troops as a potential invasion force should Moscow choose to back the rebels openly, fuelling pre-election tensions. The United States and EU hope the vote will strengthen the embattled central government.

Asked whether Russia would comply with Western calls for a withdrawal of its troops near the Ukraine frontier, Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov told Reuters: "They will see it - 100 percent ... We will leave less than nothing behind."

He said that Russia had already moved 20 transport planes and 20 trains worth of personnel and military equipment out of the provinces of Rostov, Belgorod and Bryansk flanking Ukraine after completing what he said were military exercises there.

A full withdrawal of forces deployed to the regions could be completed "within a few days," he said. (Reporting by Thomas Grove; Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. For more information see our Acceptable Use Policy.

comments powered by Disqus