No sign of Russian troops withdrawing from Ukraine border - NATO official

BRUSSELS Tue Apr 29, 2014 3:22pm IST

Pro-Russian supporters stand in their camp near the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine April 25, 2014. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

Pro-Russian supporters stand in their camp near the seized office of the SBU state security service in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine April 25, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO has seen no sign that tens of thousands of Russian troops are withdrawing from close to the Ukraine border, a NATO official said on Tuesday, despite a Russian statement that the troops had returned to their permanent positions.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in a phone call on Monday that Russian forces, which started drills near the border last week, had returned to their permanent positions, according to the Russian government.

"We currently have no information that indicates a withdrawal of Russian troops from the Ukrainian border. We continue to urge Russia to abide by the Geneva agreement and to pull back all its troops along the Ukrainian border in favour of diplomacy and dialogue," a NATO official told Reuters, asked about Shoigu's assertion.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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