Russia Hastily Admits Its Soldiers Were Caught Inside Ukraine, Could Ceasefire Talks Cease?

Russian President Vladimir Putin will certainly have a tough time explaining about the presence of Russia’s soldiers inside Ukraine.

Top-level sources in Moscow have admitted that a number of men captured inside Ukraine were indeed serving Russian soldiers. However, they were quick to point out that the captured soldiers weren’t sent on any mission and merely wandered off into Ukraine “by mistake.” The admission couldn’t have come at a worst time, since President Vladimir Putin will meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, for talks in Minsk today.

Interestingly Russia was left red faced when the Ukraine authorities released video footage of the interrogation of the captured soldiers. These soldiers can be clearly heard confessing they are serving Russian army officers. The plot thickens half-way through the video when one of the soldiers, reportedly says he had not been told exactly where they were going. However, he had “an idea,” that they were in Ukraine.

While there is no immediate confirmation of the authenticity of the recordings, Russian wire agencies were quick to broadcast a defense ministry admission that soldiers had indeed crossed into Ukraine. Such an outright admission clearly suggests that the footage is genuine. A source in Russia’s defense ministry was quoted by the RIA Novosti agency,

“These military servicemen were, in fact, involved in patrolling the Russian-Ukrainian border area and most likely crossed [the border] by accident at an unequipped and unmarked zone, and as far as I know they didn’t resist the armed forces of Ukraine [during their detention],”

Russia shares extensive border with Ukraine and soldiers, weapons and fighters are able to cross the porous border freely. However, till date there has never been confirmation that serving Russian soldiers were active inside Ukraine, despite repeated claims from Kiev and some circumstantial evidence.

Ukraine has claimed that it had intercepted a party of 10 Russian soldiers inside their boundary, but chose not to state exactly how these unfortunate soldiers were caught. Interestingly, this isn’t the first incident of Russia’s soldiers or vehicles reportedly found inside Ukraine.

Quite recently The Guardian had reported a convoy of armored personnel carriers and support trucks with Russian military plates crossing an unmarked section of the border near the town of Donetsk. Needless to say, Russia had vehemently denied that any incursion had taken place, and said the column was on a “border patrol” mission that stayed strictly on the Russian side.

While Russia and Ukraine are in the midst of a ceasefire discussion, it is inevitable that the issue of these soldiers will be brought up. Will such recurrent reports hamper the peace process?

[Image Credit | YouTube]