Russian military forces and equipment have entered Ukraine, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk says, according to a report from Ukraine’s state-run media on Monday.
“I have just spoken with the national defense and security council secretary. Ukrainian military intelligence confirm the fact military personnel and equipment have been transferred from Russia to Ukraine,” the prime minister is quoted as saying.
He continued: “Tanks, GRAD multiple rocket systems, BUK and SMERCH systems, radio electronic intelligence systems are not sold at local Donetsk street markets. Only the Russian army and Defense Ministry have them.”
The prime minister’s spokeswoman, Olga Lappo, confirmed to CNN the quotes attributed to Yatsenyuk are accurate.
Russian officials could not be immediately reached for a response.
The report came a day after protesters gathered at Kiev’s Independence Square to march for peace,
Yatsenyuk and Ukraine’s President were among those who attended the rally, which had as its slogan, “I am Volnovakha,” in memory of the 13 passengers who died near the city of Volnovakha after their bus was hit by artillery fire on January 13.
“We will remember every Ukrainian hero who gave (life) for the sake of independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” President Petro Poroshenko said. “We will not give up a single meter of our land.”
Meanwhile, fighting in the east continued.
Government forces and pro-Russia rebels have been battling for control of the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions since April, after Russia annexed Ukraine’s southeastern Crimea region the previous month.