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KIEV, Ukraine. — Russia says it’s pulling some troops from the border.

An official confirms a number of military units are returning to base after completing drills.  The announcement came ahead of a planned meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who hopes to avoid a military conflict.

More than 100,000 Russian troops have been building up around the former Soviet country as Moscow demands security guarantees from NATO.  Western nations have promised crippling economic sanctions if Russia invades.

The U.S. closed its embassy in Ukraine yesterday, warning a Russian invasion could happen by the end of the week.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin travels to Europe today for meetings with military and government leaders in Belgium, Poland, and Lithuania.

Austin’s first stop is in Belgium, where he’ll meet with defenses ministers and NATO leaders.  Russia’s defense ministry announced earlier today that some troops that have been taking part in military exercises will be returning to their bases.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted about a phone conversation he had with the Ukrainian foreign minister and said he pledged support” against all forms of Russian aggression, including key financial assistance packages.”

President Biden has said no U.S. combat troops will be sent to Ukraine, though American forces have been sent to bolster NATO allies in Eastern Europe.