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Putin pulls out border troops

Moscow, May 19 (Reuters): Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered military forces to return to their permanent bases after drills in three regions bordering Ukraine, the Kremlin said today.

Putin’s office said he had issued the order because the spring manoeuvres were over. The move could also be intended to ease tension in Russia’s standoff with the West over Ukraine before Kiev holds a presidential election on Sunday.

In Brussels, however, a Nato military officer said the military alliance had seen no sign of the Russian troops returning to their bases. “We haven’t seen any movement to validate (the report),” the officer said.

The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin had ordered his defence chief to return troops that had been involved in exercises.

 
 
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