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Russian Military Cross In Ukraine And Captures Border Town

Ukrainian and NATO officials on Thursday said Russian forces have crossed the border into Ukraine to support pro-Russia separatists battling there, sparking fears of what one diplomat has called “a direct invasion.”

Ukraine’s National Security Council said Russian armored vehicles have surrounded the key southeastern border town of Novoazovsk. And NATO said it has indications that roughly 1,000 Russian troops already are operating inside eastern Ukraine, with at least 20,000 more poised on the border in an offensive fighting force. NATO will hold an emergency meeting Friday.

At a special Organization for Security and Cooperation meeting in Vienna, that country’s OSCE ambassador, Ihor Prokopchuk, told reporters “what we registered is a direct invasion of the Russian military into the eastern regions of Ukraine,” Reuters reported.

Russian Ambassador Andrey Kelin, also at the OSCE meeting, denied the allegation.

“No Russian forces are crossing in any point the border of Ukraine,” he told reporters, disregarding that 11 Russian soldiers had been captured inside Ukraine this week.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko cancelled a visit to Turkey and called his security council’s emergency meeting Thursday – just two days after he and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Belarus to work out a peace process.

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