Russia yet to start troop withdrawal from Ukraine border, says Nato

16 October 2014 (Last Updated October 16th, 2014 18:30)

Russia is reportedly yet to start its troop withdrawal from the Ukrainian border, a Nato official has revealed.

Breedlove

Russia is reportedly yet to start its troop withdrawal from the Ukrainian border, a Nato official has revealed.

Nato Allied Command Operation 17th Supreme Allied Commander Europe US General Philip Breedlove was quoted by the Associated Press as saying: "We would welcome withdrawal of troops on that border, and we are anxiously watching what is happening.

"We have not seen major movements yet. Now we will watch to see if there is delivery on the promise."

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered 17,600 Russian soldiers to return to their permanent bases, following the completion of military exercises in the southern Rostov region near the Ukrainian border.

The RIA Novosti news agency then immediately reported that Russian soldiers had started the process.

However, Breedlove added: "There is still a very, very large force and a very, very capable force sitting on the border of Ukraine.

"As Nato leaders made clear at the Wales summit (in September), Russia must end its support for militants in eastern Ukraine, withdraw its troops and stop its military activities along and across the border with Ukraine."

Ukraine and Nato have accused Russia of deploying several thousand troops and hundreds of tanks and armoured vehicles to eastern Ukraine, supporting pro-Russia rebels against the Ukrainian Army.

"There is still a very, very large force and a very, very capable force sitting on the border of Ukraine."

Moscow has consistently denied the charges and also announced troop withdrawals from the Ukrainian border in March and May.

Meanwhile, Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko are scheduled to meet at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Milan, Italy, to discuss the crisis.

A ceasefire remains in place in eastern Ukraine, although some clashes have been reported in and around the city of Donetsk.

According to UN estimates, the Ukrainian crisis has killed more than 3,600 people, including Ukrainian soldiers, rebels and civilians, since April.


Image: Nato Allied Command Operation 17th Supreme Allied Commander Europe US General Philip Breedlove. Photo: courtesy of Nato.

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