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Russia Promises To Pull Back A Division – Doesn’t

From a trusting Associated Press:

Russia pulls back a battalion from Ukraine border

By LAURA MILLS and VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV | March 31, 2014

SIMFEROPOL, Crimea (AP) — Russia said Monday it was pulling a battalion of several hundred troops away from the Ukrainian border but kept tens of thousands in place, prompting a worried response from the Kiev government about what the U.S. warned was still a "tremendous buildup." …

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone call Monday that some troops were being withdrawn from the Ukraine border, Merkel’s office said. The withdrawal involved a battalion of about 500 troops, Russian news reports said…

And the AP believes them. And their headline and lead paragraphs will make the low information voters believe them, too.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry also discussed Ukraine by phone Monday, a day after holding talks in Paris, the Russian foreign ministry said.

A senior U.S. official said Lavrov had promised Kerry that a division of Russian troops would be pulled back; a division generally consists of thousands of troops.

So the Russians promised to pull back a division (around 15,000 troops), not a mere battalion (500 troops). And, as usual, the Russians didn’t do either.

"Now there have been reports of possible drawdowns of Russian military forces from the border. We haven’t seen that yet, but if they turn out to be accurate, that would be a good thing," White House spokesman Jay Carney said…

One Russian battalion — about 500 troops — that had been sent to the Rostov region next to Ukraine was being withdrawn to its permanent base in the central Samara region, Russian news agencies quoted the Defense Ministry as saying Monday…

Oddly enough, that isn’t what NATO is saying.

From BBC News:

Ukraine crisis: No sign of Russian troop pullout – NATO

By Jonathan Marcus | 1 April 2014

BRUSSELS – Nato is not seeing a Russian troop pullout from the border with Ukraine, the military alliance’s chief has said. Anders Fogh Rasmussen again stressed that the best way to solve the crisis was through "a political dialogue"…

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel he had ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian troops near the eastern border of Ukraine, according to the German government…

"Unfortunately, I cannot confirm that Russia is withdrawing its troops," Mr Rasmussen told reporters. "This is not what we are seeing."

Well, whom should we believe? The military head of NATO or the Russians and the AP?

He said Moscow had undermined the principles on which a Nato-Russia partnership was built, adding that there could be no more "business as usual". …

For the Russians, this is ‘business as usual.’ And will be once again for the West, soon enough.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Tuesday, April 1st, 2014. Comments are currently closed.

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