Russian troops have moved into Ukraine’s disputed eastern region that Russia has now recognized as “independent,” according to the prime minister of NATO member Latvia and sources familiar with US intelligence.
“According to the information available to me, Putin is moving additional forces and tanks into the occupied Donbas territories,” Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš told CNN’s Jim Sciutto on Wednesday. “By any definition, that is a crossing from a sovereign territory to a neighboring country.”
Asked specifically if he was referring to the influx of additional Russian troops since Moscow recognized the two breakaway regions earlier this week, Kariņš replied: “Yes, according to the information available to me, this is exactly what we are seeing.”
Two other sources familiar with US intelligence confirmed to CNN that, in fact, additional Russian troops have crossed the border into the Donbas region since Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the two regions and issued an arrest warrant. deployment of “peace forces” in Donbas this Tuesday.
According to a senior US official familiar with the latest intelligence, Russia has deployed one or two so-called battalion tactical groups, Russia’s main combat formation, each comprising an average of around 800 soldiers.