Ukraine accuses Russia of sending dozens of tanks

Ukraine accuses Russia of sending dozens of tanks

KYIV – The Associated Press
Ukraine accuses Russia of sending dozens of tanks

Pro-Russian separatists ride on top of a tank near the town of Krasnyi Luch in Lugansk region, eastern Ukraine, on October 28, 2014. AFP Photo

Ukraine has accused Russia of sending in dozens of tanks and other heavy weapons into Ukraine’s rebel-controlled eastern areas.

National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said on Nov. 7 at least 32 tanks, 16 artillery systems and 30 trucks loaded with fighters and ammunition had crossed into eastern Ukraine from Russia.

He provided no specific evidence or timetable, and it wasn’t immediately clear how his agency had obtained the information since parts of Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia have been under rebel control since August.

Ukraine and the West have continuously accused Moscow of fueling a pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine with troops and weapons, the accusations that Russia has denied.

Russia’s Defense Ministry had no immediate comment on Lysenko’s statement but earlier Friday it again rejected Western allegations that Moscow was deploying more troops near the border.

Despite a cease-fire signed two months ago, Ukrainian troops and separatist rebels are still fighting near the airport of the main rebel-held city of Donetsk and a few other areas.

Ukraine’s president has ordered the military to beef up troops on the front line to prevent further losses of territory to the rebels.

Tensions rose further after the rebels held an election Sunday that Ukraine and the West denounced as a violation of the Sept. 5 truce. Russia welcomed the vote but in carefully chosen language.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, emphasized on Nov. 7 that Moscow’s statement saying it “respects” the rebel vote doesn’t amount to its recognition.

Ushakov added that Russia wants peace talks to continue.