SIMFEROPOL: Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev flaunted Russia’s grip on Crimea by flying to the region and holding a government meeting there on Monday, angering Ukraine and defying Western demands to hand the peninsula back to Kiev.
The Ukrainian government denounced the visit, a few hours after the latest round of crisis talks between Russia and the United States ended inconclusively, as a “crude violation” of the rules of diplomacy.
Russia said it had pulled some troops back from near Ukraine’s eastern border, a move that could ease tension in the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War. The Defence Ministry said a motorized infantry battalion was being withdrawn from the region. A battalion numbers between 300 and 1,200 men.
However, Medvedev’s visit taunted Western leaders by underlining their inability to force President Vladimir Putin to relinquish Crimea, seized after the overthrow of Russian-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich and annexed on March 21.
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