MOSCOW — Russia has pulled back its troops from the Ukrainian border, Vladimir Putin told diplomats Wednesday as he urged insurgents in southeastern Ukraine to postpone their planned referendum Sunday on autonomy.
In a Moscow meeting with Swiss president Didier Burkhalter, Putin said the Russian troops have been pulled back to their training grounds and locations for "regular exercises," but didn't specify whether those locations were in areas near Ukraine.
A Defense Ministry spokesman declined to say where the troops were now positioned.
Putin also called on Ukraine's military to halt all operations against pro-Russia activists who have seized government buildings and police stations in at least a dozen towns in eastern Ukraine.
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