Russia has recalled some of its troops back to base and away from the Ukraine-Russia border.
Over the past few weeks Russia has positioned over 100,000 troops on the border it shares with Ukraine, with observers estimating around 60% of Russia’s infantry being present. Tensions have escalated between Russia and the west, as Russia seeks a guarantee that Ukraine will not join NATO, while the west fears Russia may attempt to invade Ukraine in order to annex parts of its territory. In 2014 Russia annexed Crimea after separatists
Russia recently began a series of collaborative drills with its CSTO ally, Belarus, set to end on the 20th of February, but some western commentators have suggested this could be used as cover for an invasion.
Russia has continuously denied that it has any intention to invade Ukraine.
The Russian defence ministry has announced that some of its troops are returning to base after completing drills, with some hoping that this will be the beginning of a de-escalation of the crisis.
The scale of the withdrawal is currently unclear.
Maria Zakharova, the Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said:
“The 15th of February 2022 will go into history as the day western war propaganda failed”
“They have been disgraced and destroyed without a single shot being fired.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss had said she was “urging Vladimir Putin to step back from the brink” but was “preparing for the worst.”
“An invasion could be imminent and is highly likely”
In light of the withdrawal announcement, Truss said the UK would need to see a complete withdrawal of Russian troops before it would be happy that Russia is not planning an invasion.
Later on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin will meet with German Chancellor Olaf Sholz in a bid to further alleviate tensions.