NYT Says 'Tanks, of unknown origin' Have Started Showing Up in Ukraine

Wherever would these tanks have come from?

DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukraine’s interior minister claimed on Thursday that an armored column from Russia had crossed the border into eastern Ukraine overnight and had fought with Ukrainian troops during the day.

Russia did not immediately respond to the minister’s allegation, and there was no independent confirmation that an incursion had taken place.

If it did, the event would signal a significant escalation in the simmering conflict in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatist militias have seized government buildings in several cities and have resisted government troops sent to restore control.

Russia is widely believed to be supporting and aiding the separatist militias, and significant numbers of men who describe themselves as volunteer fighters have crossed into Ukraine from Russia. But the precise role Russia has played in the violence in the east has been hard to discern.

The Ukrainian interior minister, Arsen Avakov, told reporters in Kiev, the capital, that the armored column included three tanks, as well as armored personnel carriers and armored cars, and had traversed the border at a separatist-controlled crossing.

video posted online appeared to show a tank, spewing exhaust, clanking down a street in Snizhne, a town about midway between Donetsk, a provincial capital controlled by separatists, and the Russian frontier. Reuters reported that two of its journalists saw the tanks in Snizhne but could not establish where they had come from; separatists on the scene said the tanks had been taken from a Ukrainian military warehouse. Late Thursday, photographs that circulated online were said to show the tanks on a boulevard in Donetsk.

Canada. It's gotta be Canada.