Russia announced today that it will start withdrawing its troops concentrated near the border with Ukraine and Crimea in the annex on Friday, saying that the exercises have been completed in a military presence that has caused concern.
“The troops have demonstrated their ability to ensure a reliable defense of the country. So I decided to end the inspection activities in the military districts of the south and west ”, bordering Ukraine, said Russian Defense Minister Serguei Choigu, quoted in a statement.
The massive displacement of troops to these two regions, marked by major military exercises in Crimea that involved dozens of ships, hundreds of planes, and thousands of troops, in a show of strength, sparked apprehensions in the West and in Kyiv.
The United States and NATO reported that Russian military maneuvers towards Ukraine were the most significant since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea and started supporting the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The Russian defense minister said the maneuvers in Crimea involved more than 60 ships, 10,000 soldiers and about 200 airplanes, and 1,200 military vehicles.
Moscow rejected Ukrainian and Western claims about these maneuvers, arguing that it has the right to move its forces to any region of Russian territory and to claim that they are not a threat.
In parallel, Russia has also announced that it will limit the navigation of foreign warships in Russian territorial waters of the Black Sea between April 24 and October 31.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has specified that this measure only covers warships and will not affect the merchant navy that crosses the Kerch Strait, which gives access to the Sea of Azov and several Ukrainian and Russian ports.
The Kremlin also issued a warning to the Ukrainian authorities against the possible use of force to regain control of the rebel east, where seven years of fighting claimed more than 14,000 deaths and ensuring that Russia could be forced to intervene to protect the Russian-speaking civilian population. Of region.
Source: with Agencies