RUSSIA has said it was pulling a battalion of several hundred troops away from the Ukrainian border but kept tens of thousands in place, prompting a worried response from the Kiev government about what the US warned was still a “tremendous build-up.”
Russia moved quickly to strengthen its economic hold on Crimea, with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev arriving in this newly annexed peninsula with promises of funds for improved power supplies, water lines, education and pensions for the elderly.
Russia’s takeover of the strategic Black Sea region, its troop build-up near Ukraine’s border and its attempts to compel constitutional changes in Ukraine have markedly raised tensions with the West and prompted fears that Moscow intends to invade other areas of its neighbour.
However, Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phone call that some troops were being withdrawn from the Ukraine border, Ms Merkel’s office said. The withdrawal involved a battalion of about 500 troops, Russian news reports said.
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The miners have started 2014 very well indeed on the back of rising gold prices, so the question is; is this the real deal or another head fake? Is the bottom really in? Could there be a final capitulation just ahead of us? Will the summer doldrums take the PMs lower?
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