Putin orders Russian troops on Ukrainian border back to basesUpdated: 2014-03-05 03:29:33 KST
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he has no plans to send Russian troops into Ukraine, but at the same time says he hasn't ruled out the possibility entirely.
That was just one of many messages Putin delivered at a news conference Tuesday evening, fielding questions on the situation in Ukraine from reporters.
He defended his actions and pointed the finger at the West, noting that Russian forces have not fired a single shot since they were dispatched to Crimea.
Putin called out the leaders of the U.S. and other Western powers as being hypocritical in their condemnations, specifically mentioning the United States' interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.
He said all came without a UN resolution authorizing the action.
As for the leadership of Ukraine, he said the interim government was the result of a coup and that the current parliament is 'partly legitimate' while the country's acting president is not.
He went so far as to say that "militants" had sent the country into "chaos" and that Ukrainian "nationalists" and "anti-Semites" were walking the streets of Kiev and other cities.
Putin also voiced support for ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.
The Russian leader said Yanukovych told him he had not given orders to shoot demonstrators.
The news conference came just a few hours after President Putin ordered 150-thousand troops taking part in military exercises near the Ukrainian border to return to their bases within 48 hours.
Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the announcement Tuesday, calling the exercises a success.
The surprise military drills in the central and western territorial commands were launched last Wednesday as tensions rose in Ukraine.
The withdrawal comes after the European Union condemned the drills as an aggression, and threatened Russia with sanctions if the troops did not return to their bases by Thursday.
Kim Hyun-bin, Arirang News.
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