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“We clearly stated that there is no participation of Russian military. We do not supply any hardware there,” Kelin said.
“Accusations that [Russia’s] armor columns are going there were voiced last week and the week before last. All this has been refuted, and is being refuted now. These accusations are senseless,” the Russian diplomat said.
“The only thing we know is that the mayor of Novoazovsk said that after 10 artillery shots Ukrainian servicemen fled the town and militiamen entered it,” he said.
He also said that during the OSCE Permanent Council’s meeting he mentioned the 10 Russian paratroopers recently seized by the Ukrainian army and stressed that the incident “causes great regret.”
“I also paid attention to the fact that we treat Ukrainian servicemen who happen to enter Russian territory in a very humane way,” Kelin said, recalling that in early August up to 500 people crossed the border with the Russian Federation, and the situation occurred once again recently.
“We hope the Ukrainian authorities will treat our servicemen in the same humane way,” the Russian diplomat concluded.
Troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums and now call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.
During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled southeast.