9:10 am: Russia announces a new military withdrawal from Crimea
Russia said Thursday it is continuing its military withdrawal with a military train loaded with equipment leaving Moscow-annexed Crimea, as the troop deployment raised fears of an invasion of Ukraine.
“Units of the Southern Federal District that have completed their participation in tactical exercises on bases in Crimea are returning to their main bases by rail,” the Russian Defense Ministry told Russian agencies.
Russian public television showed a show of a train loaded with military trucks crossing the bridge linking Crimea with Russian territory.
Westerners have been worried for weeks about the risks of an attack by Russia on Ukraine, which is accused of massing more than 100,000 soldiers on the country’s borders.
After weeks of escalation, Russia, which denies any plan to invade, announced Tuesday and Wednesday the withdrawal of part of its forces. A retreat that Westerners said they had not seen in practice, with the White House even accusing Moscow of sending reinforcements.
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