Since the start of the government forces' military assault on eastern Ukraine's independence supporters in April 2014, Kiev and the West have repeatedly accused Russia of intervening in the Ukrainian crisis. The accusations went as far as to claim that Moscow sent troops and weapons to help the independence militias.
Nevertheless, the Kremlin has dismissed the claims as not corroborated by any evidence. Moscow does not deny, however, that some of its nationals are fighting in Donbas as volunteers.
“It is pretty difficult to have a completely accurate assessment given Russia’ efforts to mask its dead, but we estimate it in hundreds and hundreds… I cannot speak to more than 400-500 [soldiers] at the moment,” Nuland said.
Washington can confirm that Russia has moved more tanks and heavy artillery into eastern Ukraine in the last few days, US Assistance Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said on Tuesday.
“Just in the last few days, we can confirm new transfers of Russian tanks, armored vehicles, heavy artillery and rocket equipment over the border to the separatists in eastern Ukraine,” Nuland stated during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on US policy toward Ukraine.
Late January, the chief of Ukraine’s General Military Staff Viktor Muzhenko acknowledged that Russian regular army units were not involved in combat action in the troubled Donetsk and Luhansk regions, however, adding that he had information about Russian civilian and military individuals fighting alongside independence supporters in the country’s east.