But it’s not a Russian invasion…don’t look at those Russian armored vehicles destroyed yesterday after crossing the Ukrainian border…
Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine are being bolstered by 1,200 troops who “trained for four months in Russia”, according to the separatists’ leader.
A video recording of Alexander Zakharchenko speaking to delegates in the rebel-held city of Donetsk appeared to confirm reports of Moscow’s military support to the separatists, who have been fighting Ukrainian government troops since April.
Ukraine’s government claimed on Friday to have destroyed part of a column of Russian military vehicles that crossed its border, with Nato accusing Moscow of launching an “incursion”.
Russia denies any incursion into Ukraine by its troops. It also denies lending any military or logistical support to the rebel militias.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, expressed his “grave concern” over reports of the breach, and Washington called for Moscow to halt its “extremely dangerous and provocative” actions.
In his speech, reportedly made on Friday at a “people’s council” and posted on a pro-rebel YouTube channel, Mr Zakharchenko said: “The following reserves have been gathered: 150 armoured vehicles, of which about 30 are tanks and the rest are BMPs and BTRs [infantry fighting vehicles and armoured personnel carriers], 1,200 military personnel, who are there now, who underwent training for four months on the territory of the Russian Federation. They were brought into action at the most crucial moment.”