Wednesday, November 12, 2014 8:21 pm
NATO on Wednesday accused Russia of sending fresh columns of tanks, troops and military hardware into Ukraine as Kiev said it was preparing for a return to combat in the war-torn east.
Ukraine’s warning will fuel fears of a return to all-out conflict despite a two-month-old ceasefire deal which has halted fighting along much of the frontline but not stopped shelling at strategic flashpoints.
Defence Minister Stepan Poltorak said Kiev was getting set for a possible new round of fighting after seeing “increased activity” by Russia and pro-Moscow rebels across the region.
“The main task I see is to prepare for combat operations. We are doing this, we are readying our reserves,” Poltorak said at the start of a cabinet meeting.
“We observe their movements, we know where they are and we expect unpredictable actions from them.”
The sabre rattling from the Ukraine side and the possibility of an all-out-war made the UN to summon an emergency Security Council meeting today.
The meeting was requested by the United States after NATO said columns of Russian tanks, artillery and combat troops had entered eastern Ukraine in the past two days.
Russia, however, denied the claims by NATO.
The meeting will be an open debate with the 15 members of the council and also attended by Ukraine, the Australian chair of the council said.
“We have seen columns of Russian equipment, primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air defence systems and Russian combat troops entering into Ukraine,” US General Philip Breedlove said in Sofia.
Moscow immediately rejected the allegations, the latest in stream of denials that it is involved in the fighting that has rocked east Ukraine since early April.