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UK’s Truss meets Lavrov, says Russia must pull back troops to ease Ukraine tensions

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Britain said Thursday that Russia needs to withdraw troops from its border with Ukraine to ease tensions between Moscow and the West over fears Moscow is planning to invade.

“We need to see the troops and the equipment stationed on the Ukrainian border moved elsewhere because at present it is in a very threatening posture,” British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said at a press conference in Moscow.

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Truss met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the latest in weeks of intensive negotiations between officials from Moscow and the West over European security and Ukraine tensions.

“Lavrov has said to me today that Russia has no plans to invade Ukraine but we need to see those words followed up by actions,” Truss said after the talks in Moscow.

Leaders in Western capitals have been warning that Russia is preparing to escalate a separatist conflict in Ukraine after building up some 100,000 troops around its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Lavrov told reporters at the joint press conference that he was “disappointed” with the talks, repeating Russian complaints that its security concerns are being set aside.

“I felt our colleagues were either not aware of the explanations that have been given by our president, or they are completely ignoring them,” he said.

The meeting between the foreign ministers came as large-scale military exercises were kicking off with Russian and Belarusian troops in Belarus, which borders Ukraine.

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