Russia suddenly says it's pulling back troops from Ukraine's borders after weeks of tensions and fears of an invasion

  • Russia abruptly announced it’s pulling back troops from Ukraine’s borders after weeks of tensions.
  • This came one day after Putin warned the West against crossing Russia’s “red line.”
  • The buildup of roughly 100,000 Russian troops along Ukraine’s borders sparked fears of an invasion.
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Russia on Thursday abruptly announced it’s pulling troops back from Ukraine’s borders, just one day after President Vladimir Putin warned that anyone who threatens Russia’s security will “regret” it.

The buildup of roughly 100,000 Russian troops over the past few weeks along the eastern Ukrainian border and in Crimea, which Putin unilaterally annexed in 2014, raised alarms across the West and sparked fears of an invasion. 

But Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Thursday said that the exercise had achieved its goal and ordered the troops to withdraw from the area to their permanent bases by May 1. “The troops have demonstrated their ability to provide a credible defence for the country,” Shoigu said, per BBC News. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky cautiously welcomed the development. 

“The reduction of troops on our border proportionally reduces tension,” Zelensky said in a tweet. He added that Ukraine is “always vigilant” but “welcomes any steps to decrease the military presence” and “deescalate the situation” in Donbass — the war-torn eastern region where Ukraine has been fighting a war against Kremlin-backed rebels since 2014. 

This article will be updated.

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