Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed Moscow’s announcement of the reduction of Russian troops across Ukraine’s border but stressed that Kyiv would remain vigilant.
Russia had earlier said it had ordered its top military command to return troops back to their permanent bases inside the country today, saying a “surprise inspection” of forces in its southern and western regions had been successfully completed near the border with Ukraine.
“The reduction of troops on our border proportionally reduces tension,” Zelensky tweeted yesterday. “Ukraine is always vigilant, yet welcomes any steps to decrease the military presence and deescalate the situation in Donbas,” he added.
The reduction of troops on our border proportionally reduces tension. ?? is always vigilant, yet welcomes any steps to decrease the military presence & deescalate the situation in Donbas. Ukraine seeks peace. Grateful to international partners for their support #StrongerTogether
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) April 22, 2021
Washington wants “actions, not words” from Moscow regarding the withdrawal of military forces from the Ukrainian border
The United States is waiting for “actions” and not “words” from Russia, after the announcement of the withdrawal of military units near the border with Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula.
State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that Washington “will continue to monitor the situation. We’ll do that closely and we’ll – we’ll coordinate closely with Ukrainian officials as well as other – as well as allies and partners throughout.”
“Well, we have heard Russia’s announcement – its announcement that it would begin withdrawing troops from the border of Ukraine. As I’ve said, we’ve heard words. I think what we’ll be looking for is action,” he said. “We will ensure that Russia adheres to its commitment,” Price added.
Earlier in the day, Moscow announced that the withdrawal of troops would begin today while Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was ready to receive “at any time” his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss bilateral relations.