Ukrainian officials are claiming something of a Russian invasion against the eastern separatist-held region of the country today, releasing video of three aging T-72 main battle tanks rolling through the streets of Snizhne, in eastern Donetsk Oblast.
Ukraine claims the tanks, backed by armored personnel carriers, “snuck into” Donetsk across the border, at checkpoints held by the rebels. Russia denied the report and said they had no information about the tanks.
The T-72 was the backbone of the Soviet Union’s armored forces, and both Ukraine and Russia’s militaries have thousands stored in reserve. It is unclear who is in control of these three particular tanks, though there is some speculation that the rebels acquired them somehow.
Ukraine is insisting that the tanks are proof Russia is arming the rebels, though that is unclear at this point, and indeed, three T-72 tanks don’t seem likely to amount to a serious game-changer on the ground.