Russia orders troop pullback but keeps weapons near Ukraine

Russia’s defense minister has ordered troops back to their permanent bases after a massive exercise in Crimea but said that they should leave their heavy weapons behind for another exercise in western Russia

22 April 2021

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the Russian pullback along their border.

After watching the drills, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu declared the maneuvers in Crimea and wide swathes of western Russia over and ordered the military to pull the troops that took part in them back to their permanent bases.

“I consider the goals of the snap check of readiness fulfilled,” Shoigu said. “The troops have shown their capability to defend the country and I decided to complete the drills in the South and Western military districts.”

Shoigu said the troops should return to their bases by May 1, but he ordered their heavy weapons kept in western Russia for another massive military exercise. The weapons were remaining at the Pogonovo firing range in the southwestern Voronezh region 160 kilometers (100 miles) east of the border with Ukraine.

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