Ukraine can't yet confirm Russian troop pull-back: minister

20th May 2014, Comments 0 comments

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Andriy Deshchytsia said Tuesday that his government could not yet confirm Russia's claim it had pulled its troops back from his country's border.

"We hope that the declarations by Russian politicians that the troops are to be withdrawn from Ukraine's borders don't just remain declarations," he said in Berlin.

"At this point we cannot confirm it," he said, speaking through an interpreter at a meeting with German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Ukraine's border guards said earlier that Russian forces had left the area within 10 kilometres (six miles) of the border after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered their withdrawal.

If confirmed, the withdrawal would ease tensions five days ahead of a make-or-break Ukraine presidential poll.

Steinmeier said that the importance of the elections Sunday "cannot be overstated. They are a crucial milestone and a real chance for a new start in Ukraine".

"It could be the key to bringing back economic and political stability. We hope that these elections will be the beginning of a stabilisation of Ukraine."

© 2014 AFP

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