Russian tanks and men are reportedly rolling into Ukraine again, a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin met with top military officials to discuss the “deterioration of the situation” in the east of the country.
Ukraine’s military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said a convoy made up of 32 tanks, 16 howitzer cannons, and 30 trucks of troops and equipment crossed the border into the rebel-controlled Luhansk region, Sky News reports.
“The deployment continues of military equipment and Russian mercenaries to the front lines,” he said in a televised briefing.
Andrei Purgin, deputy prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, said the Ukrainian army had launched “all-out war” on rebel positions, the Russian news agency RIA said.
Kiev denied this, saying the army remained in agreed positions.
“We refute these allegations … we’re strictly fulfilling the Minsk memorandum (on a cease-fire),” Ukrainian military spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov told Reuters by telephone.
The fighting is along the fault lines that have been extended by Russian-backed separatists over the last two months.
Russia is also charging Ukraine with deliberately shelling a school, although The Interpreter reports that Moscow has not provided evidence and public information does not point to Ukraine military positions.
Representatives of the separatist regions earlier put out a joint statement calling for a redrafting of the Minsk deal, which established a cease-fire in exchange for Kiev granting “special status” to eastern territories.
Rebels say Ukraine has violated the deal by seeking to revoke a law that would have granted eastern regions autonomy. Kiev says this was a consequence of Sunday’s separatist leadership elections, which it says go against the agreement.
At least 4,000 people have died during the conflict.
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