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Russia keeps 90,000 troops near Ukraine border after drills: Kiev

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Ukraine accuses Moscow of deploying troops to uphold tensions in the region and to exert political pressure on neighbouring countries. Satellite images show Russian armored units and support equipment in a Russian town called Yelnya, about 260 km from the Ukrainian border. (SATELLITE IMAGE ©2021 MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES / AFP) Russia has left military units near the Ukrainian border after a series of drills, with the number of Russian troops in the area now totalling 90,000

Ukraine accuses Moscow of deploying troops to uphold tensions in the region and to exert political pressure on neighbouring countries. Satellite images show Russian armored units and support equipment in a Russian town called Yelnya, about 260 km from the Ukrainian border. (SATELLITE IMAGE ©2021 MAXAR TECHNOLOGIES / AFP) Russia has left military units near the Ukrainian border after a series of drills, with the number of Russian troops in the area now totalling 90,000.

Units of Russia's 41st Army stayed behind in Yelnya after the large-scale trainings, about 260 km (160 miles) from the Ukrainian border, the Ukrainian Defence Ministry said on Wednesday.

“It should be noted that the Russian Federation periodically resorted to the practice of transferring and accumulating military units in order to maintain tensions in the region and political pressure on neighbouring states,” the ministry said.

This spring, Moscow alarmed Kiev and Western capitals by building up more than 100,000 of troops along the border with Ukraine, though it later ordered them back to base.

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s statement marked an about-turn from its denial of any Russian military buildup, as reported in US media, just two days earlier.

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Spaceborne proof

Satellite images reported separately by US space company Maxar Technologies and the Politico news outlet showed that Russia was once again massing troops and military equipment on the border with Ukraine.

“Based on a review of recent satellite images, the equipment (which includes tanks, armoured personnel carriers, self-propelled artillery and associated support equipment) likely began arriving in the area in late September,” Maxar commented.

The Kremlin rejected that report on Wednesday and said that Russia maintains a military presence on its own territory where it considers it necessary.

Russia has cast its weight behind a separatist insurgency in Ukraine's east that erupted shortly after Moscow's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula and has left more than 14,000 people dead. 

Russia has repeatedly denied any presence of its troops in eastern Ukraine.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies