Two witnesses told Reuters on Tuesday that the dozens of men, who arrived at the weekend and set up a road block, were not local and had military ration packs marked with Russian writing, Censor.NET reports, citing Reuters.
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While they wore no insignia, their appearance or behavior bore striking similarities to a group of Russian troops detained in Ukraine in the past few days. The men had white arm bands, the same identifying mark that was worn by 10 men captured a few kilometers (miles) away by Ukrainian forces and who, in video released on Tuesday, said they were Russian paratroopers.
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Kolosky is about 7 km from Dzerkalnyi, where Ukrainian officials had detained the 10 Russian troops featured in the video footage.
A resident of Kolosky said some of the men were trading their military-issue ready-to-eat meals with villagers for home-made preserved fruit and vegetables. He said the writing on the ration packs was Russian, not Ukrainian. They had painted over identifying marks on their military vehicles with white circles, he added.
"The people at the new checkpoint, they were 'polite military men' wearing green. Definitely not Ukrainian. They're definitely not from around here," he said.
Another witness, Oleksii, who was in Kolosky on Monday, said that the armed men, when asked who they were, told residents only that they had come "to protect them". "It looks like direct invasion," said Oleksii.
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He said he and a friend counted what they said was 38 armored personnel carriers, 2 fuelling trucks and numerous military transport vehicles full of people in Kolosky and the immediate vicinity.
Heavy shelling around the village began as soon as the armored cars arrived, though Oleksii said it was not clear who was doing the shelling.