Merkel: still too many Russian troops near east Ukraine border

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is pictured through a window before the arrival of Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama at the Chancellery in Berlin April 1, 2014 . REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch

BERLIN (Reuters) - A reduction of troop strength at the eastern Ukrainian border ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin is not enough, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Tuesday, adding there were still too many soldiers in the area.

“It is clearly not the last step that needs to be taken because the troop concentration on the Ukrainian border is very high,” Merkel told reporters during a news conference.

In a gesture that could ease tension in the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War, Russia on Monday pulled some troops back from near Ukraine’s frontier, a move the United States said would be a positive sign if it was confirmed as a withdrawal.

Reporting by Stephen Brown, writing by Annika Breidthardt