Pulls Troops Back, Calls for Delay of Autonomy Vote
By Harold Hutchison
Russian President Vladimir Putin has pulled Russian armed forces away from the Ukrainian border as the Ukrainian offensive against pro-Russian militias continued.
According to media reports, Putin made the announcement after a meeting with the Swiss president. However, Putin also put the kibosh on participating in future talks with the Ukraine over the growing crisis in the Eastern European country. The crisis began when former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was deposed.
“We were told constantly about concerns over our troops near the Ukrainian border. We have pulled them back. Today they are not at the Ukrainian border but in places of regular exercises, at training grounds,” Putin said.
Putin also urged that an upcoming vote on autonomy for some portions of the Ukraine, including the so-called “People’s Donetsk Republic,” scheduled for 11 May, be delayed. Ukraine has planned a snap presidential election for 25 May.