Putin orders partial withdrawal from border with Ukraine

Brussels, April 1: Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a “partial withdrawal” of troops from the border with Ukraine, BBC quoted the German government as saying.

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.

IANS