Russian tanks have entered east Ukraine, says Kiev

Russian tanks have entered east Ukraine, says Kiev
# 13 June 2014 00:17 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. Three Russian tanks and other armored vehicles have crossed the border and entered Ukraine, according to Ukraine's interior minister, APA reports quoting AA.

Arsen Avakov said on Thursday the Ukrainian army had opened fire on the vehicles as they entered through a checkpoint controlled by pro-Russian separatists to the east of Ukraine, the Russian Interfax news agency reported.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Petro Poroshenko by phone on Thursday, according to a statement published on the website of Ukrainian presidency.

The two leaders discussed the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine, the steps needed to settle the situation in a peaceful way and Poroshenko's plan to solve the crisis in the country, the statement said.

Poroshenko also discussed the ongoing clashes by phone with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

- Mass protests

Humanitarian aid to Ukraine and relations between the country and the European Union were also discussed, the statement said.

Tensions are running high in Ukraine's east after separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions declared independence from Kiev following Russia's annexation of Crimea on 21 March.

Western countries have blamed Russia for instigating the conflict in Ukraine and supporting pro-Moscow separatist groups and have sought to punish Moscow by imposing economic sanctions and excluding it from the G8 economic group.

Moscow has said Ukraine was destablized by western states after pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych was driven from office in February amid mass protests by seeking closer ties with Europe.

Ukraine’s newly sworn-in President Petro Poroshenko, a billionaire confectionary oligarch who won a landslide victory in last month's presidential polls, said he will resolve the instability in Ukraine by peaceful means and that "peaceful" pro-Russian separatists will be forgiven.