Photo: Mikhail Voskresensky / RIA News
Aleksandr Zakharchenko, Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk “People’s Republic,” reported that 1,200 rebels have been training in Russia for the past four months. He slipped this news out at the meeting of the “DNR” Supreme Council on Friday, August 15. A video recording of his speech was posted on YouTube by “Novorossia TV.”
According to Zakharchenko, the rebels are in possession of 150 pieces of military equipment, including approximately 30 tanks, armored personnel carriers (APC) and infantry fighting vehicles, as well as 1,200 fighters “trained for four months on the territory of the Russian Federation.” “They joined us at the most crucial moment,” the “DNR” prime minister said.
On the previous day, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko spoke with British prime minister David Cameron and stated that Ukrainian artillery had destroyed some Russian weaponry that had crossed the Ukrainian border on the night of August 15. “The two leaders discussed their joint actions to respond to information about an intrusion of Russian weaponry into Ukrainian territory, which was confirmed by international journalists, namely by reporters from the Guardian. The President confirmed that this information is accurate and verified, since a substantial part of this weaponry was later destroyed by Ukrainian artillery during the night,” said the President’s press service.
Major-General Igor Konashenkov, an official representative of Russia’s Defense Ministry, stated that “there was absolutely no Russian military convoy that allegedly crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border. We can only hope that Ukrainian artillery destroyed some phantom, and not refugees or their own soldiers.”
US authorities could not confirm reports that the Ukrainian army had destroyed part of the convoy of Russian armored vehicles, said Caitlin Hayden, a spokesman for the US National Security Council.
The first to report that the column of APCs, which were carrying official Russian military plates, had crossed the Ukrainian border were reporters Shaun Walker from the Guardian and Roland Oliphant from the Telegraph.
At the end of July, the United States accused Russia of having trained the rebels operating in eastern Ukraine. According to a statement by the press service of the US Embassy in Moscow, rebels of the breakaway “republics” not only receive weapons from Russia, but also have been trained in the operation of air defense systems. The Embassy has made this statement in the aftermath of Malaysian Boeing 777 crash in Donetsk region. The US believes that flight “MH17 was probably hit by a BUK surface-to-air missile fired from rebel-controlled territory.”Source: TV Rain
Translated by Tanya Kononenko, edited by Andrew Kinder