At first glance, the evidence looks pretty damning.
The man speaking in this video is a Russian soldier. But what's important here isn’t who is speaking but where he's speaking. You see, the video was shot in eastern Ukraine — not far from where Ukrainian forces have been locked in a now months-long battle with a pro-Russian insurgency. (Video via YouTube / ИС, YouTube / Юрий Касьянов)
Here’s what no one is denying. A group of 10 Russian paratroopers were captured and detained Monday by the Ukrainian army. What’s up for debate is what they were doing there in the first place.
In a translation of the video provided by The Interpreter, the soldiers say their superiors sent them across the border. That said, the outlet notes confessions of soldiers in captivity sometimes are coerced.
RIA Novosti quotes one source who said: "These military servicemen were in fact involved in patrolling the Russian-Ukrainian border area and most likely crossed [the border] by accident at an unequipped and unmarked zone, and as far as I know they didn’t resist the armed forces of Ukraine [during their detention]."
No surprise here — Ukrainian officials are offering a very different explanation. Sky News quotes Ukraine’s defense minister saying: Officially, the Russian soldiers were at the border for military exercises. “In reality, they are participating in military aggression against Ukraine.”
If you’ve been following the situation in Ukraine, these sort of accusations probably sound familiar.
Monday the Ukrainian military also accused Russia of sending tanks and armored vehicles across the southeastern border.
The fear is, those supplies are going right into the hands of the pro-Russian fighters causing unrest in the eastern part of the country.
As always, Moscow has denied the allegations — allegations that could not have come at a worse time.
On Tuesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko met in Belarus with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for the first time in months. There was already little optimism they would produce any sort of breakthrough. (Video via Euronews)
The talks come a day after Poroshenko announced he’d be dissolving parliament ahead of fresh elections in October.
This video contains an image from Getty Images.