Tens of thousands Russian troops still by Ukraine

Pro-Russian gunmen take positions near the airport, outside Donetsk, Ukraine, on Monday, May 26, 2014. Ukraine's military launched air strikes Monday against separatists who had taken over the airport in the eastern capital of Donetsk in what appeared to be the most visible operation of the Ukrainian troops since they started a crackdown on insurgents last month. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

BRUSSELS: Russia has withdrawn thousands of troops from near the Ukraine border, but tens of thousands remain, a NATO military officer said on Wednesday.

"A number of (Russian) units have now withdrawn from the border. The activity we are observing continues to suggest a slow withdrawal of forces," the officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

"At present, much of the previously deployed Russian force remains in the vicinity of the border and continues to be capable of operations at short notice. Thousands of troops have withdrawn, but tens of thousands remain," he said.

NATO has previously estimated that Russia had around 40,000 soldiers close to the Ukraine border.





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