NATO 'turning blind eye to Russian troop withdrawal'

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Tweet by NATO head Anders Rasmussen saying no signs of Russian pullback from borders is attacked by Moscow

Tweet by NATO head Anders Rasmussen saying no signs of Russian pullback from borders is attacked by Moscow

MOSCOW - Russia's Foreign Ministry has insisted Moscow has withdrawn troops from the Ukrainian border, despite a tweet posted by NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen saying there were no signs of any pullback yet.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesdday that he had pulled back some troops from the border and urged-Russian separatists in the east of the country to postpone referendums scheduled for May 11.

In what amounted to the launch of a war of words over social media, Rasmussen said in a tweet on his Twitter account on Thursday: "We haven't seen any signs that Russia is withdrawing its troops from Ukraine's borders."

The Russian ministry tweeted in response that NATO refused to see the truth, adding: "For those with a blind eye, we suggest they follow President Putin's statement of May 7." 

Meanwhile, Germany's foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned that the situation in Ukraine had taken a critical turn and called for diplomacy to settle the crisis.

He said: "We are now at a decisive point, perhaps the situation is extremely critical.

"But there is still a chance that diplomatic means will succeed to prevent further escalation of violence and utter loss of control in eastern Ukraine."

He also voiced support for Putin's call on pro-separatists to delay the referendums scheduled for this weekend in eastern Ukraine.

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