More Than 10,000 Russian Troops Returning to Bases After Drills Near Ukraine

MOSCOW (Reuters) - More than 10,000 Russian troops have been returning to their permanent bases after month-long drills near Ukraine, Interfax news agency reported on Saturday, citing the Russian military.

Interfax said the drills were held in several regions near Ukraine, including in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, as well as in the southern Russian regions of Rostov and Kuban.

Russia's deployment of tens of thousands of troops to the north, east and south of Ukraine had fuelled fears in Kyiv and Western capitals that Moscow was planning an attack.

Russia denies any such plans, saying it needs pledges from the West - including a promise from NATO not to expand the alliance eastward towards Russian borders - because its own security is threatened by Ukraine's growing ties with the Western alliance.