Ukraine: 90,000 Russian troops left near border following military exercise

Ukraine: 90,000 Russian troops left near border following military exercise

Ukraine’s defense ministry says Russia has left 90,000 troops near its border following military exercises. 

In a statement, the ministry said that the Russian Armed Forces Command conducted a “series of large-scale command and staff exercises” during the second half of 2021.

­After the completion of the exercises, units of the Russian 41st Army of the Central Military District remained deployed along the border, particularly near the city of Yelnya, which is about 260 km (160 miles) from the border with Ukraine, the ministry said. 

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It also said it should be “noted” that Moscow “periodically resorted to the practice of transferring and accumulating military units in order to maintain tensions in the region and political pressure on neighboring states.”

The drills reportedly involved components of Russia’s southern and western military districts, as well as separate units of the Russian 41st Army of the Central Military District and airborne troops.

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia have been high since 2014, when Moscow annexed Crimea. 

Earlier this year, Russia amassed over 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine, straining relations between the two nations. Moscow ended the buildup in May.

The Washington Post reported on Saturday that a buildup of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border has both U.S. and European officials concerned.

Ukraine’s defense ministry denied the report on Monday, however, saying it had not recorded an additional transfer of Russian units or weapons, Reuters reported.

On Monday, Politico separately reported that Russia was amassing troops and military equipment on the border with Ukraine, based on satellite images taken by Maxar Technologies. The images reportedly showed a buildup of armored units, tanks and artillery along with troops near Yelnya.