Feb. 15 will be remembered in history as "the day of fall of Western propaganda of war," a Russian official said on Tuesday, as Moscow announced pulling back some of its forces near the Ukrainian border to their bases.
Russian Defense Ministry said some of its troops have completed their exercises and are preparing to leave. But a large-scale Russian-Belarusian military drill will last until Feb. 20.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook that the announcement refutes statements by Western officials on Russia's possible invasion of Ukraine.
"They (statements) have been disgraced and destroyed without a single shot being fired,” Zakharova wrote.
Responding to British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who said London needs to see "a full-scale removal of troops" to believe Russia has no plans to invade Ukraine, Zakharova said: "It is time for the British side to apologize for all the lies that its officials have told their subjects and the world community."
Commenting on reports about the Russian troop withdrawal, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told a news briefing that Ukraine together with its Western allies managed to stop "further escalation of the current crisis with Russia."
Russia is said to have amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that it could be planning a military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.
Moscow has denied it is preparing to invade, and accused Western countries of undermining its security through NATO’s expansion towards its borders.
It also issued a list of security demands to the West, including a rollback of troop deployments from some ex-Soviet states, and guarantees that some of those states would not join NATO.
In a written response to those demands, Washington said it is committed to upholding NATO's “open-door policy,” while NATO also conveyed the alliance's own reply “in parallel with the United States.”Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.