Captured Russian Troops Were on ‘Special Mission,’ Ukraine Says

KIEV, Ukraine - Ukraine released video footage on Tuesday of what it said were Russian soldiers captured on its territory, only hours before the presidents of the two countries were due to meet for the first time in months. In Moscow, a military source told Russian news agencies that a group of soldiers had surrendered to Ukrainian forces after crossing the border by accident. However, Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a televised briefing that it "wasn't a mistake, but a special mission they were carrying out."

Russia has always denied assertions by Ukraine, backed by the United States and the European Union, that it has been sending arms and troops across the border to support pro-Moscow separatists. The rebels have been fighting Ukraine's army since April in a war that has killed over 2,000 people and triggered Western sanctions against Russia. Tuesday's video provided the strongest evidence yet to back up Kiev's claims, sharply raising the stakes before a meeting between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russia's Vladimir Putin in the Belarussian capital Minsk.

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- Reuters