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“If these facts are confirmed, this will be a good sign ahead of the presidential election (in Ukraine on May 25),” Steinmeier said in Berlin on Friday.
German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said: “We can assume that a part of the Russian armed forced have actually pulled back or are in the process of withdrawing.”
On May 19, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu to return troops to the barracks after the scheduled spring phase of the military exercise in the Rostov, Belgorod and Bryansk regions.
“The military units are being returned in strict compliance with the initial schedule,” the Defense Ministry said, adding that June 1 was the deadline.
The routes and schedules of motor marches, train runs and flights by transport aircraft were drawn up to cause minimum inconveniences to civilian automobile, railway and air traffic.
The units that have already arrived at their permanent locations are busy with routine equipment maintenance.