Putin Orders Troops To Pull Back From Ukraine Border But Why Were They There?
UKRAINE - Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his troops to pull out of the Ukraine after NATO detected two Russian bombers that were flying over the Baltic. Fighter jets were deployed from NATO bases in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland to intercept the aircraft as they did not provide any flight plans and some had no identifiable transponder signals.
A statement put out by NATO stated "Two Russian Tu-160 Blackjack bombers, escorted by Su-27 and Su-35 fighter aircraft were flying over the Baltic Sea from mainland Russia, where they operated with a Russian A-50 Mainstay airborne warning and control plane that was also escorted by fighters."
Shortly after the jets were intercepted, Russia's defense minister gave an order for the Russian troops on the Ukrainian border to return to their normal bases of operations and withdraw from the border, but told them to leave their weapons and heavy weaponry behind in the western part of Russia for exercises later that year.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated "I consider the goals of the snap check of readiness fulfilled. The troops have shown their capability to defend the country and I decided to complete the drills in the South and Western military districts."
The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky is cautiously pleased with the withdrawal but remains watchful and vigilant, stating that he "welcomes any steps to decrease the military presence and deescalate the situation in Donbas".
The question remains, what were all those troops doing on the border in the first place? While Russia has officially declared the buildup a military exercise, it is widely believed that there were purposes beyond any training exercise for such a large pooling of soldiers and artillery.
One theory that holds some weight is that because the buildup happened shortly after US President Biden called Putin a soulless killer, Putin began building up troops and artillery on the border to invoke fear in the west, namely Biden as a retaliatory gesture.
Another theory for the buildup was to both test the military readiness of his troops, and use the buildup to test the response times of his military for a future attack on the Ukraine.
Whatever the case, the world is relieved and can take a breath again as tensions between the two countries ease.. for the time being.