Putin orders troops near Ukraine to return home

  • AP, Moscow
  • Updated: May 19, 2014 14:07 IST

The office of Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has ordered troops deployed in regions near Ukraine to return to their home bases.

In a statement released Monday, the Kremlin said that troops involved in "planned spring" exercises in the Rostov, Belgorod and Bryansk regions have been ordered back to their barracks.

The West has criticized Russia for deploying about 40,000 troops near the border with Ukraine and demanded they pull back. Putin has previously claimed that the troops had been withdrawn, but the United States and NATO said they saw no sign of that.

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