NATO representatives are challenging Russia to make good on its promise to pull back troops from three cities bordering Ukraine, saying they can't yet determine whether or not there has been a reduction in the 40,000 troops stationed by the neighboring country. On Tuesday, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu dared Russia to "prove that they are doing what they are saying."
As of this morning, it seems they might be. Sort of:
#BREAKING Russian forces withdraw at least 10 km from Ukraine border: Kiev— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) May 20, 2014
We suppose 6 miles technically counts as a withdrawal. Russia's show of force is rendered slightly ridiculous when considering the state of Ukraine's army. The Associated Press reports:
Ukraine's military is facing its worst crisis ever with a navy that has lost two-thirds of its vessels, an army desperate for basic equipment and a defense ministry that has taken to hustling 50-cent donations that people can make with mobile phone text messages. It has raised over $1 million so far that way — enough to buy one interceptor missile on a U.S. Navy warship — but military officials are thrilled. "We'll use the money to buy the things we lack, like bulletproof helmets and medical supplies," said Bogdan Buta, Ukraine's deputy defense minister.
Kiev shouldn't expect any relief from its Western supporters, who are unwilling to provide the country with arms for fear of stoking more violent unrest in the region.