Russia orders withdrawal of military from Ukrainian border
Steph Deschamps / February 15, 2022
Russian forces deployed for weeks near the Ukrainian border have begun returning to their garrisons, the Defense Ministry announced Tuesday, amid Western fears of an imminent military operation.
The units of the Southern and Western military districts, which have completed their tasks, have already begun loading on rail and road transport and will begin to return to their garrisons today, announced the spokesman of the Ministry, Igor Konashenkov, quoted by the Russian news agencies.
This announcement is the first sign of a retreat by Moscow in the crisis with the West that has lasted since late 2021.
Russia had massed since December more than 100,000 troops on the borders of Ukraine, making Kiev fear an imminent invasion of this country.
Moscow has always denied any desire for war but demanded guarantees for its security, such as the promise that Ukraine would never join NATO, which the West refused to do.
The withdrawal also comes ahead of scheduled talks on Tuesday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who will be received in the Kremlin after a visit by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron last week.
The West had threatened Moscow with unprecedented sanctions in case of an attack on Ukraine, and the United States and several other countries have deployed new forces to Eastern Europe.
Russia is still conducting joint maneuvers in Belarus that are scheduled to run until February 20.