WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- Although Russian forces have not withdrawn from the Ukraine border, there is evidence preliminary measures to depart have begun, a U.S. Defense Department official said Wednesday.
The unidentified official told CNN of indications of "preparations for potential movement. At a few locations there is evidence of troops packing up but nothing has moved yet." He did not identify the locations, and emphasized there has been no troop withdrawal as yet.
The United States believes, based on satellite imagery, an estimated 40,000 Russian troops are at the border with Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a return to their bases, and Dmitry Paskov said Monday although a withdrawal will take time, it had begun.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, hours later, no troop movement was observed.
An entry on the Kremlin website said Putin, in remarks in Shanghai Wednesday, said "our troops are no longer on the border (with Ukraine)."