Pro-Russia separatists in control of coastal town

A pro-Russian activist stands outside a police station during a peaceful takeover of the building on May 1, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine. The activists hung the Donetsk Republic flag on the outside of the building and left a short while later. Following the confrontation at the police station as many as 1000 activists marched to the prosecutor's office where they clashed with police and took control of the building. The activists confiscated riot gear from the defeated police before setting the officers free. Several people were injured in the altercation.  (Scott Olson, Getty Images)
A pro-Russian activist stands outside a police station during a peaceful takeover of the building on May 1, 2014 in Donetsk, Ukraine. The activists hung the Donetsk Republic flag on the outside of the building and left a short while later. Following the confrontation at the police station as many as 1000 activists marched to the prosecutor's office where they clashed with police and took control of the building. The activists confiscated riot gear from the defeated police before setting the officers free. Several people were injured in the altercation. (Scott Olson, Getty Images)
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Updated: 8/29 12:37 pm

NOVOAZOVSK, Ukraine (AP) — Pro-Russia separatists in Ukraine are in firm control of a strategic coastal town (Novoazovsk), a day after Ukraine said tanks and armored vehicles had invaded from Russia.

Reporters today saw at least a half-dozen tanks in the town, bearing the flags of a would-be state proclaimed by rebels in two eastern Ukraine regions. None of the tanks carried Russian markings -- but ready-to-eat meals seen near one of the tanks carried markings that said they were issued by the Russian army.

One rebel commander insisted, "There is no Russian equipment coming through here." He says the rebels are fighting with equipment abandoned by the Ukrainian forces.

But a top rebel leader has said Russia has been supplying equipment and fighters.

NATO's secretary-general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said today that despite what he called the "hollow denials" from Russia, it's clear that "Russian troops and equipment have illegally crossed the border."

Yesterday, NATO said at least 1,000 Russian troops are in Ukraine. It later released what it said were satellite photos of Russian self-propelled artillery units moving last week.

A spokesman for the rebels in the coastal town says the goal is to eventually push westward to a major port city (Mariupol). But there's no sign today of any imminent movement.


 

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