Ukraine crisis: Russia says some troops return to base
16 February 2022, 12:28 pm | Updated: 07 December 2023, 01:44 pm
Russia said on Tuesday some of its military units were returning to their bases after exercises near Ukraine, following days of US and British warnings that Moscow might invade its neighbour at any time.
It was not clear how many units were being withdrawn, and by what distance, after a build-up of an estimated 130,000 Russian troops to the north, east and south of Ukraine.
The development drew a cautious response from Ukraine and Britain but prompted a sharp rally on financial markets. Western military analysts said it was too soon to be sure of the extent of any de-escalation, repotrs Reuters.
"We've always said the troops will return to their bases after the exercises are over. This is the case this time as well," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.
He accused the United States of fuelling the crisis by warning repeatedly of an impending invasion, to the point where Peskov said President Vladimir Putin had made jokes about it.
"He asks (us) to find out if the exact time, to the hour, of the start of the war has been published. It's impossible to be understanding of this manic information madness," Peskov told reporters.
Britain, which with the United States has led the warnings of imminent action, reacted cautiously.
"The Russians have claimed that they have no plans for an invasion, but we will need to see a full scale removal of troops to show that is true," Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told LBC radio.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Kyiv would only believe that Russia was moving to de-escalate the situation if it saw for itself that Russian troops were being pulled back.
Category : International