The military convoy, comprised of 23 armored personnel carriers, fuel trucks and unspecified logistics vehicles, all bore Russian military license plates. The trucks waited until it was dark before entering Ukrainian territory through an opening in a barbed-wire fence.
Reporters Shaun Walker from the Guardian and Roland Oliphant with the Telegraph witnessed the Russian military convoy cross into Ukraine on Thursday, documenting it with Twitter posts and photos.
So @RolandOliphant and I just saw a column of APCs and vehicles with official Russian military plates cross border into Ukraine.— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) August 14, 2014
The journalists were covering the Russian humanitarian convoy's delivery of aid at the border when, in Walker's words, they "stumbled upon an actual mini-invasion."
Oliphant wrote Friday that he saw a "Massive column of APCs flying Russian flags and some with MC -- peacekeeper -- driving past aid convoy and barrelling it toward Donetsk," and posted a photo of the convoy.
These guys. Lots of them. pic.twitter.com/XM1QCCpmNQ— Roland Oliphant (@RolandOliphant) August 15, 2014
Ukraine's state-run Ukrinform news site reported the National Security and Defense Council confirmed the Guardian's account of the border breach.
It is unclear how far the convoy intended to travel inside Ukraine, but was likely providing military supplies to pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine.
The Ukrainian government continues anti-terrorist operations against the Russian-backed rebels as the government seeks to regain control of its restive eastern region. NSDC spokesman Andriy Lysenko noted Friday that "Fighting continues near Donetsk, Luhansk, Horlivka, Ilovaisk, Pervomaisk and Krasny Luch."
When asked why the Ukrainian military hadn't launched airstrikes against the Russian military convoy that illegally entered eastern Ukraine, Lysenko responded, "I assure you that what has got here, will not be released."
The Russian military crossed into Ukraine as another Russian convoy of more than 200 Russian trucks Moscow says contains humanitarian aid for embattled eastern Ukraine arrived Thursday. Unlike the military convoy, the aid convoy stopped short of the border so that International Committee of the Red Cross personnel could verify the cargo's contents.