Russia says withdrawing armed forces from near Ukraine

Russian Defence Ministry on Friday said that it had begun withdrawing more tanks and other armoured vehicles from areas near Ukraine's border amid the ongoing tension between Moscow and Kiev.
Russia says withdrawing armed forces from near Ukraine
Representative Image (Image Credit: ANI)
"Units of the Western Military District continue to return to the points of permanent deployment after the scheduled exercises. 
Another vehicle convoy with military equipment has begun to march from the training ground to the point of permanent deployment," the ministry said, according to Sputnik News Agency. 
The convoy included about 30 heavy vehicles with personnel, special equipment, military materiel, the ministry noted. Despite Russia's claims to be pulling forces back from Ukraine's borders, shelling from the Moscow side has raised tensions.
The US Embassy in Kiev informed on Thursday that Russia's shelling of Stanytsia Luhanska in Ukrainian government-controlled territory in Donbas hit a kindergarten, injured two teachers, and knocked out power in the village. 
"Russia's shelling of Stanytsia Luhanska in Ukrainian government-controlled territory in Donbas hit a kindergarten, injured two teachers, and knocked out power in the village. 
The aggressor in Donbas is clear - Russia," tweeted US Embassy in Kiev. 
Russia's recent build-up of around 150,000 troops just over the border from the Donbas region in the east, in Belarus to the north and Crimea to the south, which began in the autumn, has escalated tensions. 
Russia claims the surge of forces has always been for military exercises and that it poses no threat to Ukraine or any other nation, but has refused to offer any real explanation for the biggest build-up of military might in Europe since the Cold War. 
Defence officials in Moscow have said since Tuesday that troops and military hardware are pulling back, having completed some of the drills. 
Western intelligence officials say, on the contrary, that Russia has moved roughly 7,000 more troops close to the borders in recent days.

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