NATO: Over 1000 Russian soldiers join fight in Ukraine

Fri, 29.08.2014 15:07

KYIV/Ukraine in Arabic/ NATO believes that the most likely target of Russia is to freeze the conflict in eastern Ukraine, in order to create a long-term source of instability.

NATO's military headquarters in Europe reports that there are over 1,000 Russian troops in Ukraine now.

"We assess well over 1,000 Russian troops are now operating inside Ukraine," a NATO officer said in Mons in Belgium on Thursday.

He said 1,000 is very conservative estimate.

As was earlier reported, the so-called prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) Oleksandr  Zakharchenko said that about 3,000-4,000 military volunteers from Russia are fighting on the side of DPR. Among them are Russian soldiers who have chosen to spend their vacation outside of Russia while fighting in Ukraine.

The assertions by the president, Petro Poroshenko, came two days after he had met with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia in attempts to find a way to end the nearly six-month-old crisis roiling Ukraine. The conflict has escalated into the worst East-West confrontation since the Cold War, and the developments on the ground in the rebellious east along the Russian border suggested it would worsen.

Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the national security council, said that the Ukrainian military was planning a counteroffensive against the separatists and what he called “more and more Russians” but declined to provide details.

While the United States and its European allies have condemned Russia, they have not responded to criticism that the Ukrainian tactics against the separatists have included shelling civilian areas in rebel strongholds. The United Nations has estimated that 2,000 people have been killed in eastern Ukraine violence.


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