Putin Claims Russian Troops Have Withdrawn from Ukraine Border

After a meeting with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had ordered Russian troops to pull back from the eastern border of Ukraine, and was ready to “seek ways out of this crisis.” NATO, however, said it had seen no troop movement.

“We were told constantly about concerns over our troops near the Ukrainian border,” Mr. Putin said. “We have pulled them back. Today they are not at the Ukrainian border but in places of regular exercises, at training grounds.”

Putin also called for a delay in a proposed vote on autonomy for eastern Ukraine, which had been set to be held on May 11, something the separatists in Donetsk said they would consider. He called the scheduled presidential elections on May 25 a “good step.”

Tens of thousands of Russian troops have been stationed at the Ukrainian border since protests in Kiev deposed former president Viktor Yanukovych earlier this year. After Russia annexed Crimea, western powers accused Putin of orchestrating violence and chaos in eastern Ukrainian regions through pro-Russian separatist movements. Putin’s announcements today come amid further clashes between the separatist movements and government forces over government buildings in eastern Ukraine.

[h/t BBC / New York Times]

[Image via Mark III Photonics /]

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