Russia releases video of 'destroyed Ukrainian vehicles'
Moscow has published video evidence of what it says was an incursion by Ukrainian troops into Russian territory. A video released by Moscow's security services shows two BMP armored vehicles in the woods east of the disputed Donbass region, destroyed during Monday morning’s incident.
Black smoke can be seen rising from the wreck of a BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicle. An internal explosion appears to have blown off the turret and the rear hatches of the other vehicle, a BMP-1, which the video showed burning intensely.
While Russia has previously issued a statement about the firefight, this is the first video supposedly documenting its aftermath – and the first reference to its location, a forest near the village of Mityakinskaya in the Rostov region, due east of Lugansk city.
According to the Federal Security Service (FSB), Russian border guards in the Rostov region, due east of the self-proclaimed Lugansk republic, spotted a group of five Ukrainian saboteurs crossing the border around 6am local time on Monday. They requested support from the Southern Military District troops in order to capture the intruders.
After a firefight broke out, two Ukrainian BMPs crossed the border to extract the group, FSB said. Russian soldiers destroyed both vehicles and killed five saboteurs. There were no casualties among the border troops.
In another incident in the Rostov region on Monday, FSB border guards alleegendly captured a Ukrainian saboteur, the agency’s director, Alexander Bortnikov, claimed during a televised national security council meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
Ukraine’s military has said that Russian allegations of an attempted incursion of saboteurs were false, while the top official at Kiev’s Ministry of Internal Affairs branded them “fake news.”
The two incidents come as both Kiev and the two self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine accused each other of heavy shelling along the armistice line. The US and its NATO allies have accused Russia of planning to stage a 'false flag' pretext for an invasion of Ukraine.
The Kremlin has consistently denied having any plans to launch an offensive and called for a diplomatic solution to the crisis that goes back to 2014, when Kiev's government was ousted in violent street protests.