NATO commander ‘concerned’ by flow of weapons into eastern Ukraine

NATO’s military commander expressed concern Tuesday over an increasing flow of weaponry and military supplies to Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, as European observers in the region reported seeing another unmarked military convoy near the rebel stronghold of Donetsk.

Speaking to reporters at a NATO air base near Naples, Italy, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove said he was “concerned about the increased movement” of armored weapons and other military equipment into eastern Ukraine, adding that more have been seen “in the past several days,” Reuters news agency reported.

The NATO commander said at least 250-300 Russian troops remain inside eastern Ukraine helping the separatists. He also said that eight Russian battalions remain on Russia’s border with Ukraine, and that Moscow is moving forces capable of using nuclear weapons into Crimea, which it annexed from Ukraine in March.

Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) monitors in eastern Ukraine reported Tuesday seeing a convoy of unmarked green military trucks, with tarpaulin covers, just outside of Donetsk moving toward the city center. The monitors said five of the trucks were each towing 120 millimeter howitzer artillery pieces, while another five were each towing partly-covered multi-launch rocket systems.


(Photo of Breedlove: Nato)