Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, after a meeting with heads of security forces, said that the government has confirmed that Russia recently sent to Ukraine military reinforcements for the insurgents, including 1,200 trained militants and additional armoured vehicles.
"Today, we must consider a new content of military operation under new conditions," Poroshenko said. "Part of these vehicles have been destroyed. Now, measures are being taken to destroy the rest of them. Today, we must regroup our forces. It will ensure the protection of our territory and the continuation of offensive actions of our army."
Poroshenko's announcement confirms a boast made on Aug. 15 by the new rebel leader in Donetsk, who said a column of military hardware and reinforcements were on their way to eastern Ukraine from Russia.
Alexander Zakharchenko, the newly appointed prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, said during a meeting with separatist leaders that a column of military vehicles with weapons and personnel was advancing toward the Ukrainian frontier from Russia.
"I'd like to give you some good news," Zakharchenko told his comrades in an address on Aug. 15 that was published on YouTube. "At present, moving towards the corridor [from Russia to Ukraine that is controlled by the rebels] are... 150 items of military hardware, 30 of which are tanks and the rest are infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers."
Joining the military column are 1,200 personnel who had received four months' training in Russia, he added.
However, speaking to journalists in Donetsk on Aug. 18, Zakharchenko backpedaled, denying any fighters or weapons were en route to eastern Ukraine.
Editor’s Note: This article has been produced for Kyivpost with support from www.mymedia.org.ua, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and implemented by a joint venture between NIRAS and BBC Media Action, as well as Ukraine Media Project, managed by Internews and funded by the United States Agency for International Development.