Russian troop numbers on Ukraine border decrease

2014-03-31 19:04
The Russian flag waves in front of the Ukrainian military ship the Slavutich moored in the bay of Sevastopol. (Viktor Drachev, AFP)

The Russian flag waves in front of the Ukrainian military ship the Slavutich moored in the bay of Sevastopol. (Viktor Drachev, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kiev - The number of Russian troops deployed on the border with Ukraine is decreasing, a Ukrainian Defence Ministry official said on Monday, but he cautioned that this might not represent a pull-back of forces.

Major General Oleksandr Rozmaznin told journalists the drop in numbers might reflect a scheduled rotation of conscripts rather than a withdrawal, and he would not confirm the numbers involved.

"The number of soldiers has fallen, but the exact figure is pretty approximate. I can not confirm the number," said Rozmaznin when asked if as many as 10 000 soldiers might have left the border area.

"The number has definitely dropped and it [the situation] has calmed down. We won't rejoice and shout 'Hurray'. It doesn't matter how many of them there are, we just need to make sure our defences are strong," he said.

Conscripts made up a large part of the Russian army and "a certain number of conscripts could be stood down and swapped for others", Rozmaznin said.

The Russian military build-up on Ukraine's eastern and southern borders, as Russian forces moved into Crimea and Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that Moscow reserved the right to defend Russian-speakers in Ukraine, caused alarm in Kiev at the prospect of a broader military invasion.

Russia says the build-up represents military exercises and Russian officials say there are no plans for moving forces across the border into Ukraine's eastern and southern areas where the heaviest concentration of Russian-speakers live.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry was cautious at reports of a pull-back.

"We have information that the Russian Federation is carrying out unfathomable manoeuvres on the borders with Ukraine - in some border places they are taking away troops, in others they are coming closer," ministry spokesperson Evhen Perebiynis said.

"Such action can not fail to cause concern especially since we today do not have a clear explanation from the Russian Federation about the aims of these movements," Perebiynis told journalists.

US officials last Friday said Russia's reinforcement of troops near Ukraine had brought the total forces there to as many as 40 000, though European sources have been estimating lower numbers at around 30 000.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said, after talks with Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov on Sunday in Paris, that progress on resolving the crisis over the Russian annexation of Crimea depended on a Russian troop pull-back from Ukraine's borders.

Although Moscow says the buildup is part of military exercises, it has also been pressing diplomatically for Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine to be given greater autonomy and for the Russian language to be upgraded to the status of a state language in Ukraine.

Read more on:    russia  |  ukraine
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Joburg hot spots for cocktails, craft beer, tapas and wine!

It’s the season to be jolly – so we’ve rounded up some new Joburg hot spots!

 
 

I love summer.24

The craziest deaths of 2014
How to make this a sensual, sexy summer!
This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!
This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.