Ukraine crisis: Kiev accuses Russia of military invasion after 'tanks cross border'

Military claims tanks and trucks from Russia have crossed into eastern Ukraine

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The Independent Online

An armoured column of tanks have crossed the border from Russia into eastern Ukraine, the Kiev military has claimed.

The Ukrainian military said a column of 32 tanks, 16 howitzer artillery systems and 30 trucks loaded with ammunition and fighters crossed into eastern Ukraine. This has not yet been independently verified.

The claims come after a shaky ceasefire was agreed by Moscow, Kiev and the rebels on 5 September after months of fighting in eastern Ukraine.

A Nato source confirmed the Russian military invasion, Sky News reported. Russia has yet to comment on the claims.

In a televised briefing, Ukraine’s military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said: "The deployment continues of military equipment and Russian mercenaries to the front lines.”

The Associated Press said Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has ordered additional troops to the frontline in response. 

On Thursday, pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine claimed Kiev government forces launched a new offence – a charge Kiev immediately denied.

The move across the border comes after the Kremlin insisted it is committed to the peace process in eastern Ukraine and called for further talks on ending the crisis between government forces and pro-Russian rebels.

Despite the truce, Ukrainian troops and separatist rebels have continued fighting near the airport in Donetsk and other areas.

The crisis in Ukraine has taken an estimated 4,000 lives, largely in rebel-held areas of Donetsk and Luhansk. Ukraine and the West has continually accused Russia or assisting rebels with troops and weapons. Russia has consistently denied arming rebels or sending in troops.

The US and other western nations have slapped sanctions on Moscow for allegedly assisting rebels.