Kiev (AFP) – Kiev on Tuesday showed off two purported Russian soldiers it captured during a gun battle in the separatist east that Ukraine’s pro-Western leadership says proves the Kremlin’s direct involvement in the war.
The two wounded men — recovering in a Kiev military hospital under the guard of masked state security men — have turned into pawns in a bitter public relations battle being waged by Moscow and Kiev since Saturday’s firefight.
Russia insists that Captain Yevgeny Yerofeyev and Sergeant Aleksander Aleksandrov had been decommissioned from the armed forces by the time Kiev believes they entered the Ukrainian war zone more than a month ago.
Moscow acknowledges the presence of Russian “volunteers” and off-duty servicemen in Ukraine while rejecting charges that they were there under orders from President Vladimir Putin’s generals.
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