Kiev: 1,500 Russian soldiers crossed into Ukraine

- 'Around 1,500 Russian soldiers and more than 300 military vehicles have entered Ukraine,' says military spokesman.

KIEV, Ukraine (AA) - Around 1,500 Russian troops have crossed into eastern Ukraine over the weekend, said a Ukraine military spokesman Monday.

Andrey Lisenko said Russia has continued to provide arms, ammunition and oil to regions occupied in the east, plagued by quasi-incessant fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists for months.

"Around 1,500 Russian soldiers and more than 300 military vehicles have entered in Ukraine," said Lisenko.

He also claimed the vehicles, en route to the cities of Luhansk, Debaltsevo and Antratsit, were carrying heavy rocket systems. 

In addition, Lisenko said nine Ukrainian soldiers had been killed and 26 others wounded in clashes with armed separatists in the last 24 hours, adding that separatists had launched more than 100 attacks against locations where government forces were stationed.

U.S. and European leaders accuse Russia of supporting the conflict in Ukraine with arms and ammunition. Moscow says the U.S. and the EU have deliberately destabilized the country in order to expand the west's military presence in Eastern Europe through NATO.

More than 5,300 people have been killed and 12,200 injured in eastern Ukraine since mid-April last year, according to the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, while at 1.5 million people have been displaced from their homes.

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