The Russian troops are seemingly leaving the eastern front in Ukraine for now, easing tensions a bit.
The Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has declared the so-called military drills near Ukraine to be over. Consequently, the troops are to be withdrawn to their bases in central and eastern Russia.
However, he said that there would be more drills later this year, so the soldiers have left a bunch of larger weapons in place, which also keeps some tension in the area. The restrictions on foreign government ships in the Kerch Strait is still in place, too.
Though it is still unclear what Putin wants from the troop build-up, moving the forces east is making the current situation much less dramatic, somewhat defusing and stabilizing the dangerous situation.
Troop pull-back in Ukrainian media
Naturally, Ukrainian media have been commenting on the news. The editorial piece of the Kyiv Post today states that this is not by any means the end of the conflict. Instead they argue that the time was not right for an assault.
“But another reason seems more likely: He doesn’t feel it’s the right time for an assault on Ukraine, one of the fading levers he has over the nation. So there is no reason for the West — or Ukraine — to relax,”
They also speculate whether or not he already got what he wanted – a show of force, insight into how the Biden administration and the European Union would handle the crisis, or maybe Putin was under too much pressure from the Navalny situation to take on an international crisis at the time.
The news agency Unian does not comment on the situation directly, but instead they distributed the comments from the former SBU deputy chief General Viktor Yahun, who said that a Russian attempt on blackmailing Ukraine had failed, but he also asks everyone to hold their horses.
“We mustn’t relax. Even if Russia does pull its troops back to their permanent bases, I doubt that these sites will be too far from the field camps where they had deployed,” said the general.