Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian troops back to their bases after military exercises near the border with Ukraine, easing tensions ahead of a summit next week, according to Reuters.
The troops have begun to withdraw from of the border region of Rostov, Russian RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Next week, Putin is scheduled to meet with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Milan in a new attempt to resolve a separatist war by pro-Russian rebels.
Relations between Moscow and the NATO alliance are at a post-Cold War low over Russia’s actions in Ukraine, where it annexed the Crimean peninsula in March and has been supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
The West has introduced a wide range of sanctions against Russian banks, energy companies and individuals for Moscow’s role in the Ukrainian conflict, which has claimed the lives of over 3,000 people.
A month ago, NATO said Russia had several thousand combat troops and hundreds of tanks and armored vehicles in eastern Ukraine supporting pro-Russian separatists fighting the Ukrainian army, Reuters said.
Russia denies the charges but says it has a right to defend the interests of the region’s Russian-speaking majority.
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