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Russian prime minister angers Ukraine by visiting Crimea

Published on Apr 1, 2014 4:45 AM

SIMFEROPOL (REUTERS) - Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev flaunted Russia's grip on Crimea by flying to the region and holding a government meeting there on Monday, angering Ukraine and defying Western demands to hand the peninsula back to Kiev.

But in a gesture that could ease tension in the worst East-West stand-off since the Cold War, Russia pulled some troops back from near Ukraine's eastern frontier - a move which the United States said would be a positive sign if it is confirmed as a withdrawal.

At the Kadamovsky training ground, a Reuters reporter saw hundreds of troops pile into over 40 armoured personnel carriers and a long line of military trucks. The convoy then headed off from the area, which lies in the Rostov border region.

President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he had ordered a partial drawdown in the region, Merkel's spokesman said.

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