Russia announces withdrawal of armed forces from Ukraine

Russia said on Friday it was withdrawing more tanks and other armored vehicles from areas near the border with Ukraine after holding war games that have caused concern in the West.

“Another military echelon with personnel and military equipment of the tank units of the Western Military District returned to the Nizhny Novgorod region for permanent deployment after the planned exercises,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Separately, it is said that 10 Su-24 military aircraft were redeployed from the Moscow-annexed Crimean peninsula to airfields in other regions as part of the exercise.

In a later statement released by news agencies, the defense ministry said additional tank contingents from the Western Military District were being loaded onto trains to return to bases after the exercise.

News agencies do not report where the units conducted the exercises and where they were redeployed. Russia does not say how many troops are participating in large-scale exercises near the Ukrainian border.

The cuts, announced Friday, are the latest in a series this week that initially raised hopes of easing tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.

The West has accused Moscow of amassing tens of thousands of troops both in Crimea and near Ukraine’s borders and warned of an imminent Russian attack.

However, in response to initial reports of withdrawal, Washington said there had been no significant reduction in troop numbers, and said Russia was actually increasing forces around the border.

Tensions have escalated over Russian military games in Belarus, led by Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow on Friday for talks with President Vladimir Putin. Russia announces withdrawal of armed forces from Ukraine

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