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U.S., NATO: No evidence of Russian troops withdrawing from Ukraine's border

Upon completing military exercises by Ukraine's border, Russian military troops were ordered to return to their home bases. As of Monday, however, the U.S. and NATO said they have seen no evidence of a Russian troop withdrawal.
By JC Finley   |   May 20, 2014 at 8:25 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, May 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. and NATO said Monday they have not yet seen evidence that Russian troops have withdrawn from the border region with Ukraine following completion of their military exercises.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin announced Sunday, had issued an order for the Russian troops to withdraw from the border and return to their home bases.

"Due to the completion of the routine spring phase of military training that involved redeployment, in particular, at training sites in the Rostov, Belgorod and Bryansk regions, Putin has ordered the defense minister that the troops, which took part in the exercises, return to their home bases and continue military training in nearby training sites."

By Monday, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen reported that there was no sign of a military withdrawal.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was also skeptical the order would be fulfilled, acknowledging at a briefing on Monday that while the withdrawal of Russian troops would be "a welcome announcement," the U.S. has "heard that promise before, and have yet to see any indication that it's been fulfilled."

In another recent incident, the U.S. Mission to NATO published satellite imagery via Twitter contradicting Putin's claim on May 7 that 40,000 troops stationed at Russia's border with Ukraine had been withdrawn. Russian troops were visible in imagery captured on May 9, and were still present in imagery dated May 12.

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