The announcement of the withdrawal came in a statement from Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konushnikov, who described the ongoing exercises in which troops from “practically all military districts, fleets and airborne forces” took part.
“The units of the southern and western districts, which have completed their tasks, are boarding trains and trucks and will head to their garrisons later today,” Konushnikov said in the statement.
The Defense Ministry also released a video of some Russian tanks and other heavy weapons being loaded onto railway cars, Interfax news service reported.
The Russian ruble was reported to gain after the announcement, indicating that investors had been hoping it would mark the beginning of a easing of tensions between the two countries. Russia and the West.
Russia earlier announced the conclusion of military exercises near the Ukrainian border, but social media and satellite images taken in the following days did not show significant changes in the status of Russian forces. Those exercises involved a small number of troops.
Many of the troops near the Ukrainian border do not participate in any formal exercises. When asked about military reinforcements, Russia only said that it has the right to move troops as it likes within its territory.
Russia is conducting major joint exercises with Belarus that are scheduled to end on February 20. Western countries have warned that those exercises could be used as cover to prepare for an attack on Ukraine, while Russia said those forces would return to their base once the exercises were over.
Russian government officials moved quickly to accuse the West of hysteria and to say that the troop withdrawal showed that NATO’s warnings of the invasion were false.
“February 15, 2022 will go down in history with the failure of propaganda for the Western war,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote in a Facebook post after the announcement. They were shamed and destroyed without a single shot being fired.
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