Russia appears to pull some troops from Ukraine border

Written by on March 31, 2014 in Europe - Comments Off on Russia appears to pull some troops from Ukraine border

Russia is withdrawing a motorized infantry battalion from a region near Ukraine’s eastern border, the Russian Defense Ministry was quoted as saying by state news agencies on Monday.

The Defense Ministry said it was pulling forces out of the Rostov region near Russia’s border with Ukraine after month-long military exercises.

“The battalion … has completed its field exercises at the Kadamovsky training grounds in the Rostov region and is beginning its march to its permanent base in the Samara region,” the ministry was quoted as saying.

A battalion numbers between 300 and 1,200 troops.

The U.S. State Department has cautiously welcomed the announcement.

“If reports that Russia is removing some troops from the border region are accurate, it would be a welcome preliminary step. We would urge Russia to accelerate this process,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

She added that the U.S. also continues to urge Russia to engage in a dialogue with the government in Kyiv to de-escalate the situation, while respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, NATO sources are saying that they are aware of reports of small numbers of Russian troops relocating, but believe these reports are inconclusive at this time.

There are many reasons why military units move, including for exercise purposes, resupply, repositioning, or for troop rotation, the sources said.

Source: VOANews.com

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