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Russia announces the end of the massive build-up of troops near Ukraine

Russia’s defense minister said Thursday that massive military exercises had been completed near the border with Ukraine and that he had ordered troops to return to their permanent bases by May 1, according to state media. Why It Matters: Tens of thousands of troops and heavy military equipment had been moved to the border of eastern Ukraine and the annexed Crimean territory last month, sparking fears of a possible Russian invasion. Stay up to date with the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free When Russia carried out military exercises in Crimea early on Thursday, in which more than 60 ships, over 10,000 soldiers, around 200 aircraft and around 1,200 military vehicles were involved, AP reported, citing the Russian Defense Ministry. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the objectives of the military exercises “were fully achieved” and the troops “demonstrated the ability to provide a reliable defense of the country,” according to the translated comments. What they say: “The troop reduction on our border proportionally reduces tensions. Ukraine is always vigilant, but welcomes all steps to reduce the military presence and de-escalate the situation in Donbass. Ukraine strives for peace. Grateful to international partners for their support, “tweeted Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky. Between the lines: The imminent threat of a Russian invasion may diminish, but tens of thousands of troops remain within striking distance of Ukraine and there is no end to the Long-s in sight. but also to measure the USA and Europe. President Biden severely warned Vladimir Putin and supported Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But he pulled back from a plan to send warships to the Black Sea and made it clear that the US would not wage war over Ukraine. The European reaction was even more subdued. In Ukraine, however, the impending invasion sparked a sense of national unity and strengthened Zelensky’s position, Davyd Arakhamia, head of Zelensky’s parliamentary party, told Axios. More information from Axios: Sign up to receive the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free