Putin orders partial withdrawal from Ukraine border

Brussels: Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a "partial withdrawal" of troops from the border with Ukraine, BBC quoted the German government as saying.

Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin. File pic

Putin informed Chancellor Angela Merkel of the move in a telephone conversation, her office said.

However, thousands of Russian troops are still said to be deployed along the border.

Earlier, Ukraine condemned a visit to Crimea by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and a delegation of government ministers.

Tensions between Russia and the West rose after the overthrow of pro-Kremlin Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February, following months of street protests.

Later, Russia's subsequent decision to annex Crimea triggered a crisis in relations.

Crimeans voted to leave Ukraine for Russia on 16 March, in a referendum condemned as illegal by the UN General Assembly.

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