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Putin orders Russian troops away from Ukraine border

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Putin orders Russian troops away from Ukraine border

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Russian military forces are reportedly ending their exercises on Ukraine’s eastern border.

The order to return to base has come from the Russian President Vladimir Putin but a NATO source says there has been no movement suggesting they are halting manoeuvres.

Nonetheless, the Kremlin says it has invited Kyiv to order its forces to do the same and wants to “redefine relations.” The move comes ahead of Sunday’s presidential vote in Ukraine and could be aimed at easing tensions.

Meanwhile, Moscow has also repeated its demand that Kyiv end what Russia calls a “punitive operation” against separatist rebels.

There has been heavy fighting in Slovyansk where pro-Russian militants have been engaged with Ukraine National Guard members.

Scores of volunteers have rallied to join the force after Ukraine’s interim president said many eastern regions are now effectively lawless, without any police.