Merkel says still too many Russian troops near Ukraine border

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The decision by Russia to reduce the number of troops at the eastern Ukrainian border has been met with caution by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. On Monday, she spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin who ordered the move which could ease tension in the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.

At a news conference today in Berlin Merkel said it was “clearly not the last step that needs to be taken because the concentration of troops on the Ukrainian border is very high”. She added that she didn’t have “any reason to doubt that the pullout would take place”.

Moscow is believed to have sent an unknown number of troops to the Ukrainian border region in recent weeks, which has caused alarm in Kyiv and the West.

Estimates have put the figure into the tens of thousands.

The United States has said it would be a positive sign if the withdrawal of soldiers could be confirmed.

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