Russia has announced the end of military exercises in the Crimean peninsula and, therefore, the Russian military in this area are returning to their permanent headquarters. The Crimean peninsula was annexed by Russia in 2014 and has always been a source of conflict with Ukraine.
“The units of the Southern military district that completed their participation in the tactical exercises in the polygons of the Crimean peninsula are heading by train to their permanent locations,” the Russian Ministry of Defence explained in a statement.
This announcement comes just one day after the country announced that it was withdrawing its troops from areas in the west and south, bordering Ukraine, for the same reason that they had also completed their scheduled exercises.
In addition, the new move by the Kremlin comes on a day when US intelligence services had warned that the Russian invasion of Ukraine would most likely occur. Despite these maneuvers, Defense spokesman Igor Konashénkov has stressed that Russian troops will continue to carry out “major troop preparation activities involving virtually all military constituencies, fleets and airborne troops”.
As for the international community, countries such as Spain and Germany have explained through their foreign ministers that it would be very good news if these movements were a small de-escalation in the conflict that is taking place on the border with Ukraine, although they prefer to maintain prudence and verify that they are real movements.
As for Ukraine, which has seen more than 100,000 Russian troops on the border, it is also skeptical and its Foreign Minister explained yesterday that until they see that there has indeed been a withdrawal they will not believe it.
Nicolás de Pedro, director of Statecraft Research, explained in Morning News that “we will have to see what it translates into on the ground, but keep in mind that Russia has programmed this operation in a very precise and systematic way in several stages and seeks to generate confusion in the West”.