Julia Camara | Echo
Two Russian armored columns crossed the border into Ukraine on Aug. 28 and captured the coastal town of Novoazovsk, reported The Washington Post. Ukrainian authorities denounced the latest fighting as a Russian invasion of their territory and claim the move is to assist pro-Russian separatists who were losing ground to Ukrainian forces in past weeks. Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine, said that columns of heavy artillery, large loads of arms and Russian soldiers crossed into Ukraine from Russia through the uncontrolled border area, The New York Times reported. With knowledge of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil, tension has drastically increased between the United States and Russia, according to The New York Times. This comes after President Obama threatened harsher penalties against Russia should they invade. "We assess well over 1,000 Russian troops are now operating inside Ukraine," said Dutch Brig. Gen. Nico Tak, head of NATO's crisis management center. "They are supporting separatists (and) fighting with them." However, Russia's defense ministry denies these claims, Reuters reported. "The information contained in this material bears no relation to reality," Russian Gen. Maj. Igor Konashenkov said. Condemning Russia's actions in Ukraine, President Obama called them part of a pattern of behavior that began months ago. According to The New York Times, the operations led to Russia's political and economic isolation due to Western sanctions. These developments are a setback for the West and come just as Ukraine seemed to finally gain the upper hand against separatists. Western governments are also growing impatient with Moscow's persistent denial of military involvement. "Russia has to stop lying and stop fueling this conflict," said Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Powers spoke during a United Nations Security Council emergency meeting, reported the BBC. In addition, Reuters reported that Radoslaw Sikorski, Poland's foreign minister, said on Aug. 28 that Russia's actions in eastern Ukraine are an "aggression" that has created Europe's most serious security crisis in decades. According to Reuters, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Ukrainian prime minister, appealed to the United States, the European Union and G7 countries, asking them to freeze Russia's assets and finances until their armed forces, equipment and agents are all withdrawn from the region. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that the European Union summit on Sunday will discuss the possibility of further sanctions.