New Delhi: Close on the heels of a warning from the US and NATO, Russia's Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday (February 15) the start of a pullback of some forces.
The so-called military movement and "drills" has raised the US and European alarm about a possible military assault on Ukraine. The Kremlin has consistently denied its plans an attack or any 'invasion' move.
Units of the Western and Southern military districts on Tuesday will begin returning to "permanent bases" after completing exercises, said reports citing the Defense Ministry in Moscow.
The US and NATO had warned that Russia has massed some 130,000 troops near the border with Ukraine in preparation for a possible invasion and demanded a withdrawal to ease tensions.
Russia rejected the accusations while saying movements of forces on its own territory are an internal matter. Russia is continuing its largest drills in neighbouring Belarus that are due to finish on February 20.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for the US and its allies to give sweeping security guarantees, including a ban on further expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. They have rejected his demands but offered talks on other security issues, including missile restrictions and measures to build confidence.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described those proposals as "constructive" at a meeting with Putin on Monday. Russia has said that a diplomatic solution to its escalating standoff with the West is still possible. In a televised meeting, President Vladimir Putin was told that diplomatic talks had not yet been exhausted, reports said