BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The United States continues to see no evidence that President Vladimir Putin has pulled Russian forces near Ukraine back to their bases, a senior U.S. military official said on Tuesday, a day after the Kremlin announced Putin had ordered the pullback.
“As of this morning, (we see) no evidence that Putin is withdrawing forces,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Moscow has massed tens of thousands of troops near border regions where pro-Russian separatists have declared independent states. Coming in the wake of Russia’s seizure of Ukraine’s Crimea, that has fuelled fears in Kiev and western nations that the troops could be used to invade in support of rebels.
The crisis in Ukraine is sure to be central during discussions among senior military officials at NATO headquarters this week. General Martin Dempsey, the top U.S. military officer, is in Brussels for the NATO discussions.
The United States and European Union have warned Putin’s government against interfering with Ukraine’s presidential elections on Sunday.
Reporting by Missy Ryan; Editing by Catherine Evans