The Ukrainian military says it destroyed several Russian armoured vehicles after they allegedly crossed into Ukrainian territory without permission.
The incident comes just as a substantial aid convoy going into Ukraine from Russia was being inspected by Ukrainian border officials and the International Red Cross.
The Russian column of armoured vehicles were reportedly met with artillery fire from the Ukrainian side following the illegal incursion.
“Appropriate actions were undertaken and a part of it no longer exist,” said Andriy Lysenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian National Security Defence Council.
Russian officials are claiming that none of their forces have crossed the Ukrainian border, although NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has corroborated Ukraine’s claims of an incursion.
“I can confirm that last night we saw an incursion [into] Ukraine,” Rasmussen said, adding that “what we have seen last night is the continuation of what we have seen for some time.”
“It just confirms the fact that we see a continuous flow of weapons and fighters from Russia into eastern Ukraine and it is a clear demonstration of continued Russian involvement in the destabilization of eastern Ukraine,” Rasmussen said.
Russia’s Interior Ministry is claiming that the Ukrainian government is attempting to block Russia’s humanitarian aid from reaching its intended target.
“We draw attention to the sharp intensification of military actions by Ukrainian forces with the obvious goal to block the route, agreed upon with Kiev, of the humanitarian convoy from the Russia-Ukraine border to Lugansk,” the ministry said in a statement.
This latest border clash could very well exacerbate the already tense situation between the Ukraine and Russia, the latter several Western leaders have accused of arming the separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, a claim Russia has denied.