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Russia moves troops, military equipment out of Ukraine border area
May 22, 2014 / 12:37 PM / in 4 years

Russia moves troops, military equipment out of Ukraine border area

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia moved 15 transport planes and 20 trains carrying personnel and military equipment out of three provinces that border Ukraine, the Defence Ministry said on Thursday.

Pro-Russian activists guard a checkpoint outside the eastern Ukranian city of Luhansk May 21, 2014. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

“The moving of units is continuing,” the Interfax news agency quoted a Defence Ministry statement as saying.

It said the troops were returning to their permanent bases after conducting military exercises in the border provinces of Rostov, Belgorod and Bryansk.

The Kremlin announced on Monday that Putin had ordered Russian forces near Ukraine back to their bases, but NATO and the United States said they saw no sign of a pullback. Moscow has failed to carry out such promises before.

Moscow has amassed 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 view them as a threat that Russia might use force to support the rebels.

Reporting by Thomas Grove; Editing by Alissa de Carbonnel, Larry King

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