CNN reports that Ukraine says Russia has mounted a “full-scale” invasion and is fighting alongside its proxy/separatist rebels. US officials agree; Russia is invading Ukraine.
U.S. officials said Russian troops were directly involved in the latest fighting, despite Moscow’s denials.
Rebels backed by Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers fought Ukrainian forces on two fronts Thursday: southeast of rebel-held Donetsk, and along the nation’s southern coast in the town of Novoazovsk, about 12 miles (20 km) from the Russian border, according to Mykhailo Lysenko, the deputy commander of the Ukrainian Donbas battalion.
“This is a full-scale invasion,” Lysenko said, referring to the fighting in the south.
Intelligence now indicates that up to 1,000 Russian troops have moved into southern Ukraine with heavy weapons and are fighting there, a U.S. official told CNN Thursday.
Ukraine’s National Defense and Security Council said that Russian forces were in full control of Novoazovsk as of Wednesday afternoon.
The UN Security Council is set to meet on the invasion this afternoon. But the Russians have a veto there, so any tough action against Russia won’t come out of the UNSC.
The theory that Putin’s true aim is to use ethnic tensions to seize Ukraine’s eastern energy production regions is still holding up.