TWO RUSSIAN COLUMNS INVADE UKRAINE
Two armored columns have crossed into the Ukraine from Russia in an apparent incursion. The reports come as the Ukrainian government appeared to be getting the upper hand over pro-Russian separatists despite Russian support.
Brig. Gen. Nico Tak, a NATO spokesman, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, “Russia is reinforcing and resupplying separatist forces in a blatant attempt to change the momentum of the fighting, which is currently favoring the Ukrainian military.”
“We have also detected large quantities of advanced weapons, including air defense systems, artillery, tanks, and armored personnel carriers being transferred to separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine,” Tak added. “The presence of these weapons along with substantial numbers of Russian combat troops inside Ukraine make the situation increasingly grave.”
NATO released satellite images showing evidence of the Russian incursion. One of them showed at least six 2S19 self-propelled artillery pieces inside the Ukraine. Others showed vehicles on the move. NATO estimated that at least 1,000 Russian soldiers were in Ukrainian territory.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko cancelled a foreign trip due to the reports of the invasion. Poroshenko took office in an election after Viktor Yanukovych was forced out of office by protests that began after he refused to sign a trade deal with the EU.