Russian Defense Official Bashes NATO for Ignoring Troop Pullout

MOSCOW, May 8 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov has urged the United States and NATO to stop lying to the global community about Russia’s alleged military presence on the Ukrainian border.

“We call on ‘the official representatives’ of NATO and the Pentagon to stop their cynical deception to the world community in regard to actual situation on the Russian-Ukrainian border,” Antonov said.

He went on to say that Kiev still had some 15,000 troops on its border with Russia, with NATO ratcheting up its military presence and air patrol missions in Eastern Europe.

Antonov added that the military alliance had not brought any formal accusations against Russia regarding its military maneuvering close to the Ukrainian border.

“Not a single NATO member state, including the US, has formally accused Russia of not abiding by or violating any international obligations on conventional weapons,” the Russian military commander said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier that Russia had pulled back its troops from Ukraine’s border and moved them back to their bases. He said this could be easily confirmed with modern reconnaissance satellites.

In response, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen claimed that the alliance had not yet seen any significant change to the disposition of troops along the border.

Antonov lashed out at Rasmussen saying the NATO chief preferred to “ignore the facts” on the troop withdrawal.

NATO earlier accused Russia of deploying approximately 35,000-40,000 troops in the vicinity of the Ukrainian border in preparation for a military intervention in Ukraine, despite Russia’s continued claims there was nothing unusual about its military drills.

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