The Ukrainian military has reportedly attacked and destroyed a part of a Russian military column that has crossed the border through the separatist-held border post of Izvaryne, according to Bloomberg News, citing Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko.
The destruction of Russian military vehicles will only further increase tensions between Ukraine and Russia. Ukraine has been accusing Russia for months of providing subvert military aid and assistance to the separatists fighting in the east.
Ukrainian Pravda reports that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko brought up the incident with British Prime Minsiter David Cameron today during a phone call between the two leaders. Poroshenko said that the majority of the Russian vehicles had been eliminated by Ukrainian artillery at night.
A column of Russian military vehicles was seen crossing into Ukraine yesterday. Earlier today, a detachment of Ukrainian troops was sent to inspect the contents of a supposed “humanitarian convoy” that Moscow had sent to Ukraine’s restive east.
Now, Russia’s Foreign Ministry is claiming that “intense fighting” has broken out around the aid convoy, according to Reuters.
Roland Oliphant, the Moscow correspondent for The Telegraph, tweeted that a massive column of Russian armoured personnel carriers were travelling quickly towards the Russian city of Donetsk by the Ukrainian border.
Massive column of APCs flying Russian flags and some with мc – peace keeper – driving past aid convoy and barrelling it toward Donetsk
— Roland Oliphant (@RolandOliphant) August 15, 2014
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO had also witnessed the “incursion” of Russian military into Ukraine. NATO had stopped short of characterising the incursion as a full invasion.
The incursion, Ukrainian Defence Ministry spokesman Leonid Matyukhin told Bloomberg, was not neither seen as a recent development nor the start of a possible invasion.
Rasmussen had previously warned on Monday that a Russian invasion of Ukraine was a “high probability” and that it would take place under the “guise of a humanitarian operation.”
Russia has continued to increase its military presence along the Ukrainian border despite international pressure. There are an estimated 20,000 Russian troops currently deployed along Ukraine’s eastern border who are “capable of a wide spectrum of military operations,” according to Pentagon press secretary Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby.
The current chaos in Ukraine started with demonstrations in Kiev last November after former Ukrainian President Yanukovych abandoned an agreement for closer ties with the EU, choosing instead a Russian trade package. The demonstration continued to gain strength and ultimately grew violent, forcing Yanukovych to flee Ukraine by February.
By March, Russia had moved troops into the Ukrainian penninsula of Crimea, de facto annexing the region. Separatists, likely under the direction of Russian intelligence services, began occupying government buildings throughout eastern Ukraine in April, leading to a Ukrainian “anti-terrorist” operation to reclaim the eastern regions on April 15.
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