FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Has Russia invaded? Ukraine enters a critical state
The situation in Ukraine is entering a critical phase. As Russian troops mass on the border with Ukraine and a bogus “humanitarian” convoy has moved towards Ukraine from Russia. Tonight there are reports that a Russian armored column has crossed the Russo-Ukraine frontier.
A column of Russian armored personnel carriers (APCs) has reportedly crossed Russia’s border with Ukraine. The APCs had earlier been seen traveling alongside a supposed Russian humanitarian convoy headed towards Ukraine’s conflict-torn east.
Evidence of Russian troop movement over the border supports the Ukrainian claim that Russian soldiers have been actively supporting pro-Moscow separatist militants in the region.
The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent, Shaun Walker, and The Telegraph’s Roland Oliphant witnessed the APC convoy cross over the border alongside other military vehicles bearing official Russian military license plates.
Adding to the uncertainty is the fact that the Russian leader of the Ukraine separatist movement, a goon named Igor Girkin who fights under the nom de guerre Strelkov has fled Ukraine for Russia.
The military leader of pro-Russian rebels in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk, Igor Girkin – known as Strelkov – has resigned.
Alexander Borodai, the former PM of the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic, confirmed the news but denied reports Mr Strelkov had been wounded.
There has been heavy shelling both in Donetsk and Luhansk as Ukrainian forces battle the separatists.
What this signals is unclear. Strelkov is, to all appearances, the glue that keeps the disparate military elements of the decidedly non-Ukrainian Ukraine separatist army together. Him fleeing across the border in anticipation of the fall of Donetsk would not be surprising. Him abdicating and decamping is. Is he giving up the struggle? Or has there been an internal coup in the “separatist” movement and Strelkov lost?
If the Russian military convoy is a part of the humanitarian convoy, which seems farfetched based on the locations, then we are near an end game where Russia, at least temporarily, gives up on this particular adventure. If not, Strelkov may have gotten the word that an invasion is either imminent or underway and his services are no longer required in Donetsk.