Russia To Pull Troops Back From Ukranian Border Ending Fears Of Imminent Invasion And War
Russia’s defence minister has said the country will recall many of its military troops from the border of Ukraine, alleviating fears of an imminent war.
Russian officials claimed the buildup was related to military exercises, though rising tensions between the two countries prompted Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky to assure his country was ‘ready’ for war.
The military is said to have conducted several days of exercises, but Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has now indicated that the gathering of units will stop.
Speaking during a meeting in Crimea on Thursday, per The Guardian, Shoigu commented:
I believe that all the goals of the surprise check have been achieved. The forces have demonstrated their capacity for solid national defence. Therefore, I have decided to bring the check of the southern and western military districts to an end.
Russian military command confirmed on the same day that personnel from Russian army and airborne units would return to their bases, though some heavy artillery, including powerful rocket artillery and other missiles, is set to remain near the border of Ukraine.
The troop movements are set to begin today, April 23, with Shoigu saying he had instructed the commanders to complete the operation by May 1.
Despite Russia’s efforts to explain away the buildup, western authorities had expressed concerns that the country had an ulterior motive, aiming to send a pointed message to Kyiv and the Biden administration regarding its willingness to take action.
On Wednesday, during his annual state-of-the-nation address, Russian President Vladimir Putin commented, ‘I hope that no one dares to cross the red line in respect to Russia, and we will determine where it is in each specific case. Those who organise any provocations threatening our core security interests will regret their deeds more than they regretted anything for a long time.’
Putin added that Russia’s response would be ‘asymmetrical, quick and tough’ should the country’s ‘good intentions’ be mistaken for ‘indifference or weakness’.
Following Shoigu’s announcement, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commended the decision and described moves to dispel the military buildup as ‘important and overdue’, the BBC reports.
NATO added that the Western military alliance remained vigilant, and that discussions about Russia will be high on the agenda when leaders meet at a summit in June.
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