Tags: ukraine | russian | soldiers | captured | terrorism

Ukraine: Russian Soldiers Captured, but Moscow Denies Troops on the Ground

Image: Ukraine: Russian Soldiers Captured, but Moscow Denies Troops on the Ground
Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Sergei Ilnitsky/AFP/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 May 2015 08:57 AM

The government in Ukraine announced Monday that it captured two wounded Russian soldiers in the eastern part of the country and plans to prosecute them as Moscow continues to the deny the existence of the troops in its neighboring country.

Ukrainian officials identified the captured soldiers as Capt. Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Sgt. Aleksandr Aleksandrov of Russia's Third Special Forces Brigade based in the southern Russian city of Togliatti, according to The New York Times.

"Despite allegations and despite official statements of the Russian Federation about the absence of the Russian troops in eastern Ukraine, we are ready to present evidence of the opposite," Ukrainian Gen. Viktor Muzhenko told reporters during a news conference. "We know their names, their military ranks, as well as their military stations."

The Russian defense ministry is claiming that the captured military soldiers are former servicemen who had been discharged from its army, reported the Moscow Times.

"(Yerofeyev and Aleksandrov) were not active servicemen in the Russian armed forces at the moment of their capture on May 17," Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Monday. "We have checked up on the information of the Ukrainian side — these boys previously have in fact served in one of the Russian military units and have military training."

Konashenkov's announcement attempted to bolster the claim of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has also said that there are no Russian troops in Ukraine.

"I am telling you openly and unambiguously: There are no Russian troops in Ukraine," Putin said as recently as last month, noted the Moscow Times.

Viktor Nikolyuk, commander of Ukraine's 92nd Brigade, told reporters Monday that a skirmish had broken out between his forces and an enemy forces reconnaissance unit that included with what the believed to be 14 Russian servicemen on Saturday, The Guardian reported.

Last August, Ukraine returned 10 captured Russian paratroopers whom Moscow said accidentally entered Ukrainian territory in exchange for 63 Ukrainian soldiers who had crossed into Russia to escaping fighting.

Rights advocates have told The Guardian that Russian troops have mobilized to fight in eastern Ukraine.

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The government in Ukraine announced Monday that it captured two wounded Russian soldiers in the eastern part of the country and plans to prosecute them as Moscow continues to the deny the existence of the troops in its neighboring country.
ukraine, russian, soldiers, captured, terrorism
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2015-57-19
Tuesday, 19 May 2015 08:57 AM
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