Troops, APCs, helicopters, jets in eastern Ukraine as operation starts (VIDEO, PHOTO)
Following the Tuesday announcement of an “anti-terrorist operation” by the coup-imposed acting president Aleksandr Turchinov, armored vehicles have been spotted moving and taking positions kilometers away from the eastern Ukrainian city of Slavyansk, where activists seized several administration buildings with the assistance of armed self-defense volunteers.
While Slavyansk is in the Donetsk region, sightings of groups of military vehicles have been reported in the neighboring Kharkov and Lugansk regions, where pro-Russian and anti-Kiev sentiment is high.
Residents of the eastern Ukrainian city of Lugansk on Wednesday
stopped a convoy of armored vehicles of the Ukrainian army
approaching the city, local channel Inter reported.
According to the report, at least six APCs and trucks with howitzers were heading to Lugansk from Dnepropetrovsk. Residents of Raygorodok village have reportedly blocked the convoy’s way and placed cars alongside the road, preventing the convoy from passing through.
— Новороссия-LIVE (@NovorossiyaLive) April 15, 2014
Some 40 kilometers from Slavyansk in the Kharkov region town of Izyum, hundreds of troops with armored vehicles, including tanks and a helicopter, have been filmed by media and amateur reporters.
The force is being described as a mix of army troops, Ukrainian special forces and the so-called National Guard troops loyal to Kiev, with some reports claiming armed radical Right Sector members have also been transferred to the area. The unusual mix is explained by the fact that Ukrainian army divisions have previously refused to act on orders from Kiev to crack down on eastern Ukrainian protesters.
— Восток UA За РФ (@vostokUAzaRF) April 15, 2014
Late on Monday, dozens of armed Ukrainian vehicles moving in the direction of Slavyansk were filmed by locals in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. Near the town of Volodarsk, a massive force was spotted on the move.
Locals opposing Kiev’s military operation have repeatedly tried to block the movement of the military, in one instance halting a tank in Rodninskoye town on Monday. The vehicle was manned by young conscripts who eventually chose to shut down the engine and negotiate with the people.
Kiev has ordered military vehicles transferred to Ukraine by Russia from Crimea, to move to eastern Ukraine to cover up for the lack of hardware, a source in the Ukrainian Defense Ministry told RIA Novosti.