NATO accused Russia of sending columns of troops and heavy weapons into Ukraine in the past two days, as the government in Kiev warned the nation’s eastern combat zone is close to returning to open war.
Russia’s Defense Ministry denied the accusations, according to state-run RIA Novosti. Pressure has been building for days, with the government and rebels are accusing each other of gearing up for a renewed military push that risks swelling the death toll of more than 4,000. The UN Security Council is scheduled to hold an emergency session in New York today over the intensifying conflict.
“We have seen columns of Russian equipment, primarily Russian tanks, Russian artillery, Russian air-defense systems and Russian combat troops entering into Ukraine,” U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO’s top military commander, told reporters in Bulgaria today. “We do not have a good picture at this time of how many. We agree that there are multiple columns that we have seen.”