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Still too many Russian troops on eastern Ukrainian border - German chancellor

April 01, 2014, 21:01 UTC+3 BERLIN

"I believe that Russia continues reducing troops," German Chancellor Angela Merkel says

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BERLIN, April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed hope that Russia will reduce a troop strength on the eastern Ukrainian border.

“I can agree with what the Russian president has told me,” Merkel told a news conference upon completion of talks with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama on Tuesday.

“Of course, I’ll ask how it has happened. I believe that Russia continues reducing troops. Their strength on the eastern border is rather high,” she said.

On March 28, Russian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman Alexander Lukashevich issued an official commentary on the allegations about the concentration of Russian Armed Forces in the areas adjoining the border with Ukraine.

“The practice of collaboration among member-states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) - and all of NATO’s member-states also have membership of the OSCE - boasts a number of well-adjusted and fairly reliable methods of “getting analgesia” in the form of ground-based and aerial inspections under the 2011 Vienna Document, as well as surveillance flights under the Treaty on Open Skies,” he said.

“An opportunity to hold these inspections was offered to everyone who wished to get familiarized with the actual state of affairs in the areas (of Russia - ITAR-TASS) adjoining the Ukrainian border. The results of the inspectors’ work were reflected in the official reports distributed to all the member-states of the OSCE,” Lukashevich said.

“The unbiased information contained in them should have become, in our opinion, a subject of scrupulous analysis and the groundwork for further conclusions. And did the inspectors establish any signs of a military threat to Ukraine on the part of Russia?” he said.

“Nothing of this kind. A total of four international inspections held on the Russian territory under the 2011 Vienna document on trust-building and security measures involved representatives of Latvia, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Estonia, Belgium, France, and Ukraine, who did not track down any aggressive preparations and did not see any military activity apart from the one, on which Russian had sent notifications earlier,” Lukashevich said.

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