News / Europe

Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fighti
August 26, 2014 5:45 PM
Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight
Gabe Joselow

Ukraine said on Tuesday its forces had captured a group of Russian paratroopers who had crossed into Ukrainian territory on a “special mission” - but Moscow said they had ended up there by mistake.

On Monday, the Ukrainian military said it had captured a group of Russian paratroopers who had crossed the border.

On Tuesday, Ukraine security services released video footage purporting to show testimonies from Russian paratroopers detained by Ukrainian government forces while fighting alongside pro-Moscow rebels in Ukraine.

Video posted on Kyiv's Anti-Terrorist Operation Facebook page shows one of the detained soldiers, who identified himself as Corporal Ivan Milchakov, listing his personal details, including the name of the paratroop regiment he belongs to which he said is based in the Russian town of Kostroma.

“I did not see where we crossed the border. They just told us we were going on a 70-kilometer (45 mile) march over three days,” Milchakov said.

“Everything is different here, not like they show it on television. We've come as cannon fodder,” he said in the video.

Called a mistake

However, Russian officials said the soldiers were lost and crossed over the Ukraine border by mistake.

The claim was disputed by Ukrainian military spokesman Olekseyi Dmitrachkovskiy.

“Yesterday, these people were questioned and they gave testimony that most of them knew they were going to Ukraine," he said.

At a frontline Ukrainian military position, soldiers battle daily with pro-Russian separatists located about 10 kilometers away.

A Ukraine rocket-launcher site was destroyed in one of the frequent barrages of rebel fire that come every day, according to a young soldier, Oleg.

“You can't tell, it can be in 10 minutes, in 2 minutes or in 24 hours, or shelling all the time from artillery mortars or grad rockets," Oleg said.

The Ukraine military controls a narrow strip of land between Donetsk and Luhansk province. 

While the Ukrainians said they have rebel positions surrounded, concerns that Moscow is still funding and supplying the rebels means this fight could last for a while.

As the death toll mounts from the monthslong fight, officials in Ukraine hope a meeting in Minsk, Belarus, between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin will calm tensions.

“Concerning escalation, we will wait for the results of the negotiations taking place today in Belarus. I think probably common sense will prevail and they will agree and meet in the middle,” Dmitrachkovskiy said.

Russia continues to deny it is backing the rebels fighting in eastern Ukraine, but forces in eastern Ukraine said the evidence suggests otherwise.

Russian influences

Near the town of Debaltseve, Ukrainian national guards stopped a car when it tried to avoid a checkpoint. Inside, the troops said they found what they said was a drunk driver, machine guns and Russian passports.

Three accused separatists pulled from the vehicle are being investigated.

One of the soldiers in Debaltseve, Victor, is convinced of Moscow's involvement in the conflict.

“If Russia wouldn't support terrorists, this conflict I think would have been over a long time ago," Victor said.

Separatists are showing no sign of letting up in their long battle to control eastern Ukraine, as the military digs in for a long fight as well.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
by: meanbill from: USA
August 27, 2014 12:36 AM
RUMOR HAS IT;.. It was supposed to be the big Russian planned invasion of Ukraine, but the rest of the Russian army couldn't read a military map and got lost?...... (it was a made in Poland map, written in Yiddish?) :

PS;.. The rest of the Russian army got lost in the forest, and turned around in circles and attacked Russia by mistake?...... it's no wonder the US and NATO can't figure out what the Russians are doing?..... they're going around in circles?..... trying to find each other?

by: Igor from: Russia
August 26, 2014 11:20 PM
Those russian troops may have been questioned before gun points and under the threat of life from Kiev agents. Was there any neutral party involving in the testimony? No. Someone can speak anything according to the instructions of the kidnappers when his life is threatened. Pls hear the Amerian Journalist say before his head was cut off by an UK islamic militant.
In Response

by: Tom Murphy from: Heartland America
August 27, 2014 3:47 PM
The very fact that Russian military troops were captured in Ukraine proves an intent of invasion by Russian military command to cross into Ukraine. Russian forces have long had GPS technology that tells them accurately where they are, even in total darkness and storm. The fact that people like Igor can lie to themselves and dream up elaborate excuses for Russian troops to be blameless only demonstrates the depth of brainwashing and propaganda exercised by Putin's mind control apparatus.

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