Earlier in the day, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the completion of snap combat readiness checks in the southern and western military districts. He also ordered the general staff, the military districts' chiefs and the airborne forces to start returning the troops to the places of their permanent deployment starting Friday, conduct a detailed analysis and sum up the results of the checks.
"We have taken note of the announcement by Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu. Any steps towards de-escalation by Russia would be important and well overdue. NATO remains vigilant and we will continue to closely monitor Russia’s unjustified military build-up in and around Ukraine. NATO stands with Ukraine, and we continue to call on Russia to respect its international commitments and withdraw all its forces from Ukrainian territory," the official said.