The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation have completed part of the military exercises, and units of Southern and Western military districts began to return to their places of deployment, representatives for the Russian Defense Ministry said.
"As the combat training activities are being wrapped up, the troops, as always, will conduct march movements in a combined way to the points of permanent deployment,” Igor Konashenkov, an official representative of the ministry said.
Military units have already started loading works and will head to their garrisons on February 15, he added.
The day before, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu reported to President Vladimir Putin that almost all fleets and all military districts held large-scale manoeuvres.
In particular, the Armed forces hold manoeuvres in the Barents, Black, Baltic Seas, as well as in Western, Eastern, Central military districts. The Pacific Fleet takes part in the manoeuvres as well.
Russia and Belarus hold Union Resolve 2022 war games on the territory of Belarus on February 10-20. The troops practice their skills to repel external aggression against the Union State of Russia and Belarus. S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems were deployed to the republic.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg earlier said that Russia could use the manoeuvres in Belarus as a cover for the invasion of Ukraine. The Kremlin responded that the troops would be withdrawn after the exercises were completed.
"No one has ever said that the Russian troops will remain on the territory of Belarus. We did not discuss that. It goes about allied exercises and it is understood that upon the completion of those exercises, the troops will return to their permanent places of deployment,” Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin's official spokesman said.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, responding to the uproar that arose against the backdrop of the joint Russia-Belarus war games stated that it was up to him and Putin to decide when Russia withdraws the troops from Belarus.
The West accuses Russia of pulling troops to the border with Ukraine and preparing an invasion of the neighboring state. Moscow denies such allegations and says it has no intention to attack anyone. The Russian side has repeatedly stated that the Russian troops move across the territory of the Russian Federation at the discretion of the Russian authorities.
Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev presented a map in which Russia takes the entire territory of the former Ukraine