Some Russian forces near Ukraine return to bases: Live news….

Some troops in Russia’s military districts adjacent to Ukraine return to their bases in a move that could de-escalate tensions

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrived in Moscow on Tuesday to meet President Vladimir Putin in a high-stakes mission to avert war, saying he will hammer home the message from the West that they are open to dialogue about Russia’s security concerns but will impose sanctions if it invades Ukraine.

Meanwhile, some troops in Russia’s military districts adjacent to Ukraine returned to their bases after completing drills, Russia’s defence ministry was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying, a move that could de-escalate friction between Moscow and the West.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is also due to visit Belgium – where he will meet NATO allies – Lithuania and Poland, a day after Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov held out hope for diplomacy after urging Putin to continue talks.

Amid frantic efforts to try and avert conflict in Ukraine, the United States extended a $1bn sovereign loan guarantee to Ukraine, as the build-up of Russian troops at the country’s borders weighs on its economy.

More than 20 ships from Russia’s Northern Fleet have started drills in the Barents Sea, the Interfax news agency cited the fleet as saying.

The exercises in the Arctic waters between Russia and Norway are part of broader drills which have prompted fears that Moscow may invade Ukraine. Russia denies such plans. Read More

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