(QHA) -

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered military forces that took part in drills in three regions bordering Ukraine to return to their home bases, RFE/RL reports.

In a statement released on May 19, the Kremlin said that troops involved in "planned spring" exercises in the Rostov, Belgorod, and Bryansk regions had been ordered back to their barracks.

However, Reuters quoted a NATO military officer as saying the alliance had so far seen no sign of any movement among the 40,000 troops it says Russia has amassed there.

At the same time, a Kremlin spokesperson urged Kyiv to end its operation in eastern Ukraine and withdraw its own troops from the region.

The West has accused Russia of exacerbating tensions in eastern Ukraine by conducting the military drills near the border.

NATO and the United States said there were no signs of reductions after Putin said on May 7 that forces had been withdrawn from the border.

QHA