Russian foreign ministry says Russian army has withdrawn 10,000 troops from vicinity of Ukraine’s border

25 December 2021, 03:42 AM

The Russian foreign ministry said on Dec. 25 that 10,000 troops from Russia’s Southern Military District based in Rostov-on-Don were returning to their permanent bases after “field drills” near Russia’s border with Ukraine.

It is not possible to verify the Russian foreign ministry’s claims at this time.

The ministry said the troops were returning to base after month-long “drills” in ranges located in southern Russia along the Ukrainian border, as well as in Armenia, Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea, and the Russian-occupied regions of Georgia. 

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Russia’s foreign ministry said the ‘field drills’ were organized for battalion tactical forces and other tactical teams, including counter air-defense forces. 

News agency Bloomberg earlier reported that Russia was continuing to build up forces near Ukraine. Satellite images provided by Jane's defense and security intelligence agency, showed tanks and artillery had been moved closer to Ukraine’s border. 

In November, Ukraine and the United States started to voice concerns over Moscow’s military buildup on Ukraine’s border. 

A number of U.S. and EU officials have since voiced concern over the situation in Ukraine: U.S. President Joe Biden said the White House was weighing unprecedented measures to stop a further Russian invasion of Ukrainian territory. 

Biden warned Putin of "strong economic and other measures in the event of military escalation."

Russia invaded and started to occupy Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in early 2014. In April 2014 it sent special forces into mainland Ukraine from Crimea to foment a fake insurgency in the Donbas region, according to the leader of the special ops team – the alleged Russian intelligence officer Igor Girkin.

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