A convoy of Russian armored vehicles moves along a highway in Crimea.
- Russia said it’s pulling some troops from the Ukrainian border following completed military drills.
- The US has for weeks warned that Russia could invade Ukraine at any moment.
- Russia has amassed more than 130,000 troops near Ukraine’s border since late last year.
The Russian defense ministry said Tuesday that it is pulling some of its troops from Ukraine’s border.
It comes after weeks of heightened tensions between Russia, Ukraine, and the West over fears of a possible Russian invasion.
“The units of the southern and western military districts, having completed their tasks, have already begun loading onto rail and road transport and will begin moving to their military garrisons today,” defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement.
It is unclear how many troops are being withdrawn.
Konashenkov then suggested other troops stationed at the border would follow suit.
“As the combat training measures are completed, the troops, as always, will make marches in a combined way to the points of permanent deployment,” he said.
In recent months, Russia has amassed more than 130,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, with the Kremlin stating they are there in response to US, NATO, and Ukrainian aggression and to conduct military drills.
Over the weekend, the US and UK both warned that Russia could invade any minute, but Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Tuesday they were wrong.
“February 15, 2022 will go down in history as the day Western war propaganda failed. Humiliated and destroyed without a single shot fired,” she said, according to Mark MacKinnon, a senior international correspondent at The Globe and Mail.
At a meeting on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov that a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis is still on the table.
However, Secretary of state Anthony Blinken said Monday that the US Embassy in Kyiv is “temporarily relocating” to Lviv, a city in western Ukraine, “due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces.”