Putin tell’s Germany’s Merkel he’s pulling some troops from the Ukraine border…

(CNN) — Potentially easing a diplomatic standoff with the West, Russian President Vladimir Putin told Germany’s chancellor Monday that he’d ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian troops from his country’s border area with Ukraine, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office said.

Putin made the comment to Merkel in a phone call about Ukraine, her office said. The Kremlin made no mention of a withdrawal in its own description of the call, but said the two leaders discussed Ukraine, including “possibilities for international assistance to restore stability.”

Further details about Putin’s reported order weren’t immediately available. But a withdrawal may ease tensions simmering since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Black Sea peninsula of Crimea this month — a move that has led to the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.

Earlier Monday, Russian media reported that one Russian infantry battalion was being moved from the border area to its base deeper into Russia.

Ukrainian and Western officials for weeks have voiced alarm about Russia’s reported military buildup on Ukraine’s eastern border, which has raised fears that Russian troops would enter the Ukrainian mainland. Russia may have 40,000 troops near its border with eastern Ukraine and another 25,000 inland who are on alert and prepared to go in, two U.S. officials have told CNN….


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8 thoughts on “Putin tell’s Germany’s Merkel he’s pulling some troops from the Ukraine border…”

  1. CNBC this morning…..

    Mercedes announces it’s in talks to make its cars in Russia…..

    So much for the Europeans ‘punishing ‘ Russia….

  2. Ah, happy memories of the Eastern Front!!

    Reminds me of their weird nostalgia commercial about ten years ago, which I certainly don’t fault for skipping over the war years, except that it ended with a bar sung by Marlene Dietrich, who didn’t just go along to get along with the Third Reich but was an early and vocal anti-Nazi emigrée.

  3. After a little Binging and Googling: The song and the 1997 Mercedes-Benz commercial were entitled “Falling in Love Again”, and the contradictions did occasion some blog comment at the time, notably here:


    as well as on a more general message board about incongruous lyrics on The Straight Dope (“Fighting ignorance since 1973 [It’s taking longer than we thought]”):

    Don’t use that song”

    You can see two versions of the commercial (30 & 60 sec.) on this blog:

    Marlene Dietrich: The Last Goddess

    and among other things Wikipedia’s biography says this about Marlene Dietrich and the war:

    Dietrich was known to have strong political convictions and the mind to speak them. In interviews, Dietrich stated that she had been approached by representatives of the Nazi Party to return to Germany but had turned them down flat. Dietrich, a staunch anti-Nazi, became an American citizen in 1939.

    In December 1941, the U.S. entered World War II, and Dietrich became one of the first celebrities to raise war bonds. She toured the US from January 1942 to September 1943 (appearing before 250,000 troops on the Pacific Coast leg of her tour alone) and was reported to have sold more war bonds than any other star.

    During two extended tours for the USO in 1944 and 1945, she performed for Allied troops on the front lines in Algeria, Italy, Britain, and France and went into Germany with Generals James M. Gavin and George S. Patton. When asked why she had done this, in spite of the obvious danger of being within a few kilometres of German lines, she replied, “aus Anstand” — “out of decency”….

    In 1944, the Morale Operations Branch of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) initiated the Musak project, musical propaganda broadcasts designed to demoralize enemy soldiers. Dietrich, the only performer who was made aware that her recordings would be for OSS use, recorded a number of songs in German for the project, including “Lili Marleen”, a favorite of soldiers on both sides of the conflict. Major General William J. Donovan, head of the OSS, wrote to Dietrich, “I am personally deeply grateful for your generosity in making these recordings for us.”

    I’ll leave the wartime efforts and labor policies of Mercedes Benz, Porsche and other Axis auto manufacturers to James.

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