WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon says it is seeing small number of Russian troops moving away from the Ukrainian border area.
But a spokesman said Friday that it's too early to conclude that this amounts to the wholesale withdrawal that Russia had announced.
The Pentagon spokesman, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, tells reporters that the U.S. has seen signs of preparations for further troop movements away from the border region. But he stresses that tens of thousands of Russian troops are still there.
Kirby says the continued presence of a large Russian army force along the border is having the effect of escalating tensions in eastern Ukraine. The U.S. and its NATO allies have urged Russia to remove that presence promptly.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia will recognize the outcome of Sunday's presidential election in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukraine's defense ministry says 20 insurgents have been killed in clashes in eastern Ukraine. A ministry statement says the clashes began when up to 500 pro-Russia fighters attacked a convoy of government troops yesterday outside a village.