VILNIUS - Russia is in the process of pulling back around two thirds of the troops it had close to the border with Ukraine, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Friday, a far more significant withdrawal than NATO has previously estimated.

Rasmussen also announced that ambassadors from Russia and NATO countries would meet in Brussels on Monday for the first time since March 5, soon after Russia provoked the worst East-West crisis since the Cold War by seizing Ukraine's Crimea region.

Monday's meeting is expected to discuss the security situation in and around Ukraine, a NATO official said.

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