Moscow, Apr 22 (EFE).- Russia will begin withdrawing troops deployed along the border with Ukraine, defense minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday.
The troops will return to their permanent deployment points from Friday until May 1, Shoigu said at a meeting in the Crimean Peninsula, a territory which his country annexed from Ukraine in 2014.
“I believe that the surprise inspection’s goals have been achieved in full. The troops demonstrated ability to reliably defend the country,” he explained, according to TASS news agency.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the step, saying it would ease the currently strained relations between Russia and Ukraine and its NATO allies.
“The reduction of troops on our border proportionally reduces tension,” Zelensky tweeted.
“Ukraine is always vigilant, yet welcomes any steps to decrease the military presence and deescalate the situation in Donbas. Ukraine seeks peace. Grateful to international partners for their support,” he added.
The move comes after the United States and NATO urged Russia to withdraw troops it had amassed along its border with Ukraine in recent weeks.
US President Joe Biden warned his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, during a phone call and offered his support to Ukraine.
Russia’s troop deployment alerted Kiev, which accuses Moscow of backing separatists in the war in the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine. EFE