Russia says pulls back some troops along Ukraine's border

The Russian defense ministry said on Tuesday that some of its units are heading back to base by rail and by truck after completing military drills, the Interfax news agency reported.

Iran PressEurope: Russia has amassed more than 130,000 Russian troops on Ukraine's north, south, and east borders. It has also launched massive military drills in Belarus, an ally that borders Ukraine.

On Tuesday, the Russian defense ministry said that some of its units are heading back to base by rail and by truck after completing military drills, the Interfax news agency reported.

"Units of the southern and western military districts, which have accomplished their missions, are boarding trains and trucks and will head for their garrisons later today," Russian defense ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said. "Some units will join military convoys and will perform self-propelled marches."

Meanwhile, Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said Kyiv would only believe that Russia was moving to de-escalate the situation if it saw proof of troops being pulled back.

"If we see a withdrawal, we will believe in a de-escalation," he was quoted as saying by Interfax.

"February 15, 2022 will go into history as the day the western war propaganda failed," Maria Zakharova, Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman, wrote on Facebook after the announcement. "They have been humiliated and destroyed without a single shot being fired."

It came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on his nation to fly flags and sing the national anthem on Wednesday, a date some US officials reportedly told the media would be the day Russia invades.

Ukrainian government officials stressed that Mr. Zelensky was not predicting an attack on Wednesday but responding skeptically to media reports.

"They tell us February 16 will be the day of the attack. We will make it a day of unity," Mr Zelensky said in a video address on Monday. "They are trying to frighten us by yet again naming a date for the start of military action.

"On that day, we will hang our national flags, wear yellow and blue banners, and show the whole world our unity."

Russia said it was ready to keep talking about the security grievances that have led to the crisis, as Moscow continues to deny it has plans to invade Ukraine.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday that Moscow should hold more talks despite the West's refusal to consider his country's main demands, particularly for Ukraine not to be allowed to join Nato.

He said that the talks "can't go on indefinitely, but I would suggest to continue and expand them at this stage."


Read More:

'Imminent invasion of Ukraine'; 'disinformation campaign' against Russia

NATO warns of risk of war amid Russia's wargame at Ukraine's borders