MOSCOW, March 4 President Vladimir Putin has
ordered troops that took part in military exercises in central
and western Russia to return to base after completing their
training, Russian news agencies quoted the Kremlin spokesman as
saying on Tuesday.
Moscow had denied that the exercises, which began last week,
had anything to do with events in Ukraine, where Putin has said
he has the right to deploy troops to protect Russian
The exercises ended on schedule.
The Russian leader watched the final day of the exercises on
Monday, showing no sign of concern at warnings from western
powers that Russia could face sanctions for taking control of
Ukraine's southern Crimea region.
"The supreme commander of the armed forces of the Russian
Federation, Vladimir Putin, gave the order for the troops and
units, taking part in the military exercises, to return to their
bases," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying.
Peskov said the exercises had been a success.
There was no word on movement of Russian forces in Crimea.