Moscow: Troop pullback ordered

NATO says no sign Russians are leaving Ukraine border

Posted: May 20, 2014 at 4:50 a.m.

Local residents talk to each other as they look at flame from a damaged gas pipe after an impact of a mortar bomb, during fighting between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian militants, outside Slovyansk, eastern Ukraine, early Monday, May 19, 2014. Lawmakers and officials from eastern Ukraine on Saturday poured criticism on the fledging central government, accusing it of ignoring legitimate grievances of the regions which have been overrun by pro-Russia militia fighting for independence. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

MOSCOW -- The Kremlin announced Monday that President Vladimir Putin had ordered Russian troops conducting exercises along the Ukrainian border to return to their home bases at the conclusion of the drills, signaling that Russia is not planning any military action in eastern Ukraine ahead of that country's presidential elections Sunday.

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