Ukraine fires on column of Russian APC's that crossed the border
Russia is denying the incident took place, calling it "some kind of fantasy. But NATO has confirmed the skirmish between Russian APC's that crossed into Ukraine and the Ukrainian military that fired artillery at the column, although the White House says it can't confirm the incident.
The White House says it cannot confirm reports that Ukrainian troops destroyed a Russian military convoy that had allegedly crossed into eastern Ukraine.
Spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said late Friday officials are working to gather information on the situation. She said the U.S. remains concerned about repeated Russian and Russian-supported incursions into Ukraine.
Earlier Friday, Ukraine’s president said government troops destroyed a column of military vehicles that crossed into eastern Ukraine from Russia as a convoy of Russian trucks purportedly carrying humanitarian aid remained stalled near the border awaiting inspection.
The incident, which NATO confirmed and said involved Russian weaponry, was vehemently denied by Russia’s Defense Ministry, which told news agencies the report was “some kind of fantasy.”
A top separatist official in Donetsk also dismissed the assertion, saying it was in fact separatist fighters that had ambushed a Ukrainian military column.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have neared boiling point in recent days, as the convoy of more than 250 trucks journeyed south from the Moscow region to the two countries’ border.
The Kremlin has insisted the trucks are carrying food and supplies for residents in the besieged Ukrainian city of Luhansk and other locations. Kyiv and Western officials, however, fear they could be used as a pretext for a full-scale Russian invasion.
Several reports have emerged in recent days of Russian armor making a dash across the Ukrainian border and then retiring. It could be that the Ukrainian army was on the lookout for this "pulse" maneuver and apparently tried to pulverized the column.
There will be a meeting in Berlin today between the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine to talk about the aid convoy and what to do with it. The Red Cross has volunteered to offload the supplies and put them on their own trucks, but that would deny Putin his propaganda victory so it is not likely to happen.
Ukraine seems pretty adamant that the trucks will not cross into their territory so the confrontation will probably continue for a day or two at least.