Russia said on Friday it was pulling more tanks and other armored vehicles from areas near the Ukrainian border after staging war games that raised concerns in the West.
“Another military train carrying personnel and military equipment belonging to units of the Western Military District tank army has returned to its permanent bases in the Nizhny Novgorod region after completing planned exercises,” the Russian ministry said. Defense in a statement.
Separately, he said 10 Su-24 warplanes were being redeployed from the Crimean Peninsula annexed to Moscow to airfields in other regions as part of drills.
In a later announcement carried by news agencies, the Defense Ministry said other tank contingents from the Western Military District were loading into trains to return to bases after drills.
News agencies did not specify where the units had carried out exercises or where they were being redeployed. Russia did not specify how many people are taking part in large-scale drills near the Ukrainian border.
The withdrawals announced on Friday are the latest in a series this week that initially raised hopes of a reduction in tensions between Russia and the West over Ukraine.
The West has accused Moscow of massing tens of thousands of troops both in Crimea and near Ukraine’s borders and warned of an imminent Russian attack.
However, in response to early announcements of withdrawals, Washington said there was no significant reduction in troop numbers and said Russia was actually increasing its forces around the border.
Tensions have been heightened by Russia’s war games in Belarus, whose strong leader Alexander Lukashenko was in Moscow on Friday for talks with President Vladimir Putin.