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Ukraine crisis shows sign of de-escalation


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Russia said yesterday some of its military units were returning to their bases after exercises near Ukraine and mocked repeated Western warnings about a looming invasion, but Nato said it had yet to see any sign of de-escalation on the ground.

Russia did not say how many units were being withdrawn, and how far, after a build-up of some 130,000 Russian troops to the north, east and south of Ukraine that has triggered one of the worst crises in relations with the West since the Cold War.

"We've always said the troops will return to their bases after the exercises are over. This is the case this time as well," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said.

Nato's chief welcomed signals from Russia in the past two days that it may be looking for a diplomatic solution but urged Moscow to demonstrate its will to act.

"There are signs from Moscow that diplomacy should continue…But so far we have not seen any sign of de-escalation on the ground from the Russian side," Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Kyiv would only believe that Russia was moving to de-escalate the situation if it saw for itself that Russian troops were being pulled back, reports Reuters.

Britain, which with the US has led the warnings of imminent action, reacted cautiously.

"The Russians have claimed that they have no plans for an invasion, but we will need to see a full scale removal of troops to show that is true," Foreign Secretary Liz Truss told LBC radio.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Embassy in Poland has said Bangladeshi nationals in Ukraine may consider leaving the country temporarily in view of the current situation, reports UNB.

Moscow sought to portray the troop movements it announced yesterday as proof that Western talk of war had been both false and hysterical.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, on the latest Western diplomatic mission to defuse the crisis, began talks with President Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin.
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