MOSCOW, May 8 (Xinhua) -- Russia repeated Thursday it had pulled back all its troops near the Ukraine border, and accused Ukraine of deploying a 15,000-strong force on its side.
"In order to avoid further provocations, we pulled out from the border, even the tactical units which had been there for training purposes," Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov told reporters.
His remarks came a day after President Vladimir Putin said Russia had withdrawn its troops, a claim rejected later in the day by the Pentagon and the White House.
So far, no NATO country has formally submitted any complaint over Russia's alleged violation of its international obligations concerning conventional weapons, Antonov said.
Meanwhile, the official said Ukraine had deployed 15,000 troops near the border with Russia, and Kiev resumed military draft, adding that coincided with a NATO military build-up in Eastern Europe.
"Such actions do not facilitate de-escalation of tension in Ukraine," the Interfax news agency quoted Antonov as saying.
Also on Thursday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Putin that Russian nuclear strategic forces were permanently combat-ready and their capabilities were being increased according to the plan.
Russia plans to upgrade 85 percent of its strategic nuclear weapons by 2020. The government has earmarked 20 trillion rubles (about 600 billion dollars) for the massive rearmament program.
No sign of Russian troop withdrawals from Ukraine border: Pentagon
WASHINGTON, May 7 (Xinhua) -- A spokesman of U.S. Defense Department said on Wednesday that there is no evidence of any Russian troop withdrawals from its shared border with Ukraine, contrary to reports from Russia.
President Vladimir Putin announced Wednesday that he had ordered troops to pull back from the border region to training areas. Full story
Ukraine ready for negotiation if Russia supports election: acting FM
VIENNA, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Kiev would be ready for the new round of Geneva negotiation to ease the tension in Ukraine if Moscow supports Ukraine's presidential election, Ukraine's acting foreign minister said on Tuesday in Vienna.
Andrii Deshchytsia told a press conference that his country would back a new round of talks in Geneva to ease the tension in Ukraine if Russia supports this process by eliminating its "threat" to Ukraine. Full Story