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Putin Orders Troops Back To Bases From Ukraine Border

A Kremlin spokesman says Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian troops to withdraw from the border with Ukraine and move back to permanent bases in the Rostov region.

Russian news reports quote Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that 17,600 Russian soldiers would return to their bases after what the Kremlin described as "summer training exercises" near the Ukrainian border.

The announcement comes days ahead of a summit of Asian and European leaders in Milan, Italy, that Putin is expected to attend on October 16-17.

Putin is expected to meet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Milan on October 17.

NATO has accused Russia of sending several hundreds of armored vehicles and thousands of combat troops into eastern Ukraine to support pro-Russian separatist fighters.

Russia denies it has any forces in eastern Ukraine.

Based on reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and RIA Novosti