By Anna Mostovych & Mat Babiak
Ihor Boronchenko, Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO) commander in Luhansk Oblast, has confirmed the presence of a Russian military column in the region including troops and equipment during a telephone conversation today with Hromadske.tv.
“Three days ago, a column of the Armed Forces of Russia entered the territory of Ukraine. It consists of 1,200 individuals, probably soldiers of the Russian Federation, 150 armored vehicles, including tanks and Grad missile launchers,” he said.
As previously reported, this column has entered Luhansk and is now stationed on the 30 Rokiv Peremohy (30 Years of Victory) street in Luhansk.
Earlier, Hromadske.tv journalist Anastasiya Stanko reported that the 1,200 men in the column were wearing Russian military uniforms with Russian chevrons. Apparently, the column had entered Ukrainian territory three days ago, but did not immediately enter Luhansk. According to available information, the column was based near the Siverskyi Donets river. Yesterday, August 18, it entered Mykolaivka from Pionersk, and then proceeded to Luhansk.
Donetsk terrorist leader Oleksandr Zakharchenko had earlier made public statements that 1,200 Russian-trained troops and a column of vehicles was entering the country to assist insurgent forces. Luhansk has been the scene of recent clashes as Ukrainian forces have successfully retaken sections of the city. Earlier today, special forces detained a group of Russian-armed terrorists in the city from the “Great Don Army.”