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No evidence of Russian Ukraine troop pullback: Nato

Published on May 19, 2014 10:18 PM
 
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen gives his monthly press conference on May 19, 2014 at the Residence Palace building in Brussels. Mr Rasmussen said on Monday he had seen no proof of Russian troops withdrawing from the border with Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin announced an end to exercises and return to bases. -- PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (AFP) - Head of Nato Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday he had seen no proof of Russian troops withdrawing from the border with Ukraine after President Vladimir Putin announced an end to exercises and return to bases.

"Unfortunately, we have not seen any evidence at all that Russia has started withdrawal," Mr Rasmussen said, noting this was Mr Putin's third such statement on the troops, which Nato estimates number around 40,000.

On each occasion, "we have not seen any withdrawal," he said, adding that such a move would be an "important contribution to de-escalating the crisis".

Mr Putin ordered his troops back to barracks in a move some took to signal a readiness to ease tensions ahead of crucial presidential elections in Ukraine on Sunday. The Russian strongman has also demanded the Kiev government halt military operations against pro-Kremlin rebels in the country's east.

 
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