Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said today Russian troops have crossed over the border and invaded his country.
Poroshenko called a meeting of Ukraine’s national security council as the leader of the main separatist group in southeastern Ukraine told Russian television that up to 4,000 Russians are fighting against Ukrainian military.
“There are active soldiers fighting among us who preferred to spend their vacation not on the beach, but with us, among their brothers, who are fighting for their freedom,” Aleksandr Zakharchenko said.
The Washington Post reports two Russian armored columns captured the key southeastern coastal town of Novoazovsk on the Sea of Azov near the Russian border after the Ukrainian military retreated.
The claim was issued by the Kiev government’s military information service.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, has denied any knowledge of an armored column crossing over into Ukraine.
Despite a lack of independent confirmation of a Russian invasion, State Department spokesman Jen Psaki said the alleged military action is of “deep concern to us, but we’re also concerned by the Russian government’s unwillingness to tell the truth, even as its soldiers are found 30 miles inside Ukraine.”
The announcement of an unconfirmed Russian invasion of Ukraine is reminiscent of a claim made by Georgia.
In 2010, the Georgian government controlled Imedi TV station reported Russian tanks had crossed the border and the country’s pro-western leader Mikheil Saakashvili had been murdered. The bogus report resulted in mass panic and civilians fleeing their homes.
“Not since Orson Welles persuaded Americans that the Martians had landed, during his hysteria-sparking War of the Worlds radio broadcast, had a whole nation been so duped,” The Guardian reported on March 14, 2010.