‘Kiev in U-turn over claim that ‘Russian tanks, artillery and 1,200 fighters’ had been deployed in Eastern Ukraine as evidence fails to materialise
- Ukrainian official claimed troops moved in just as the city was poised to fall
- But they have since been forced to deny the allegation after strong rebuttal
- If true it would have been tantamount to an invasion of Ukraine by Russia
- Putin set to meet Ukrainian president Poroshenko in Belarus on Monday
Muddled security officials in Ukraine were last night forced to deny a huge Russian military convoy had been deployed in the eastern rebel-run city of Lugansk.
The strong rebuttal suggested an earlier claim about an invasion by Vladimir Putin’s troops amounted to a crude propaganda move by the pro-Western Kiev government – or deep confusion in its own ranks.
The original allegation of a Russian column arriving in Lugansk came from Lt-Gen Igor Voronchenko, head of the Ukrainian Anti Terrorist Operation (ATO) in the city, and was backed by military analyst Dmitry Tymchuk.
‘There are tanks, Grad artillery, APCs, accompanied by about 1,200 men dressed in the army uniform of Russian Federation,’ the general was quoted saying in an assertion calculated to alarm the West.
Yet there was no confirmation on Wednesday from NATO or other Western sources which was widely reported inside Ukraine.
The claim was also contradicted closer to home by Kiev’s National Security and Defence Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko who dismissed it as ‘strange’.’
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