As it happened: Russia troops 'inside Ukraine'

Key Points

  • President Poroshenko holds urgent talks in Kiev after saying Russian troops are in eastern Ukraine.
  • Ukraine's to bring back conscription - but will not send conscripts to fight in the east.
  • Pro-Russian rebels seize control of Novoazovsk in Ukraine's south-east, and threaten the port of Mariupol.
  • A pro-Russian rebel leader in eastern Ukraine, says 3-4,000 Russian citizens are fighting with the rebels.
  • The UN Security Council is holding an emergency session on Ukraine, which started at 19:00 BST.
  • All times BST (GMT + 1 hour).

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    Welcome to our live coverage of unfolding events in Ukraine, after President Petro Poroshenko says Russia has sent troops to fight alongside rebels in the east of the country.


    Mr Poroshenko said he had cancelled a trip to Turkey and called urgent meetings to co-ordinate his response.


    The rebels have taken control of the strategic town of Novoazovsk and threatened to take the city of Mariupol, after opening a new front in the south-east.


    A pro-Russian rebel leader in eastern Ukraine has said 3-4,000 Russian citizens are fighting in their ranks. Alexander Zakharchenko told Russian TV many of the Russians were former service people or current personnel on leave.


    Rebels have been trying for weeks to break out of an area further north in the Donetsk region where they are almost encircled. Analysts say the separatists could also be seeking a land link between Russia and Crimea, which also would give them control over the entire Sea of Azov. Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in March.


    Read the BBC's timeline of events on Ukraine.


    Who are Alexander Zakharchenko and other pro-Russian leaders in eastern Ukraine?

    11:23: David Stern, BBC News

    The Ukrainian officials have expressed a great deal of worry and concern about this new front in the southern part of the Donetsk region, down near the sea of Azov.


    Rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko is pictured speaking earlier in the separatists' capital, Donetsk.

    Alexander Zakharchenko in Donetsk, 28 August

    Russia has long been accused of having "boots on the ground" in eastern Ukraine. The mounting evidence of its involvement was reinforced by reports this week.

    UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

    tweets: Very concerned at reports of further Russian-backed incursions into #Ukraine. Russia should stop destabilising its neighbour.

    11:46: Oleg Boldyrev, BBC News, Moscow

    The general attitude towards Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine remains positive, according to many polls. But the same polls suggest that the majority of Russians do not agree with sending Russian soldiers into Ukraine.


    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has appealed to the EU and the US to take action against Russia.

    "We urge the EU and the United States to freeze all Russian assets until Russia pulls back its forces, its military and stops the supply of Russian-led guerrillas," he said.

    Peter Jones in Kiev

    emails: I am totally supportive of anything the good people of eastern Ukraine do to fight for their freedom against the EU-backed rebels that attacked in Kiev last year. The free world has to stand up for these innocent people and demand the resignation of the fake Ukrainian leadership and reinstatement of the elected Victor Yanukovych government.


    Ukraine's ambassador-at-large, Olexander Scherba, has told the BBC that Russia is punishing Ukraine for defying it.

    "It's the continuation of what has been going on since February, and it's a war waged by Russia on Ukraine," he said.


    "It's a punishment act for Ukraine's choice of democracy and freedom and for the decision to line up with the European Union," Mr Scherba adds.

    "They are toying with us, they are toying with Europe, they are toying with the world, and they are mocking everybody."

    Edgars Rinkevics, Latvia's minister of foreign affairs

    tweets: Russian invasion in Ukraine must be considered by the UN Security Council as act of aggression, UN must react accordingly, this is war


    The authorities in Mariupol are calling on citizens to turn out for a rally at 18:00 (16:00 BST) to say "No to terrorists and Russian troops", Ukraine's Obozrevatel news website reports.

    "We must not allow Mariupol to be destroyed," one unnamed activist was quoted as saying. Ukrainian security forces drove rebels out of the city in June.


    "We are extremely concerned by the latest developments, including reports on what is happening on the ground," says Maja Kocijancic, who is spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (pictured).

    Catherin Ashton

    A firefighter surveys charred debris in a school in the rebel capital, Donetsk. Locals blamed overnight shelling by government forces for the damage.

    Debris in Donetsk school

    A member of Russian President Vladimir Putin's advisory council on human rights, Ella Polyakova, says she believes Russia is carrying out an invasion of Ukraine.

    "When masses of people, under commanders' orders, on tanks and troop carriers, and with the use of heavy weapons, [are] on the territory of another country and cross the border, I consider this an invasion," Ms Polyakova told Reuters.


    President Poroshenko is calling an urgent meeting of Ukraine's security and defence council to decide the government's next steps.

    Gregory Arkadin, Athens

    tweets: last night nothing on global mass media about ukr - today invasion. I am gonna say it as well ''I am deeply concerned''


    Vice News reporter Harriet Salem in Mariupol tells BBC News: "The mood is actually relatively calm. Over the last few days it's become increasingly tense.

    "The adviser of the local governor here says preparations are being made for bomb shelters."

    Tony Moran, Hampshire

    emails: Europe must not allow another megalomaniac leader on our borders. England and Europe need to move on from tut-tutting and join with America and help guarantee the sovereignty of this European state. We must make it clear that we will not accept military dictatorship and invasion without a reckoning or Russia will walk all over Europe as it wishes.

    Government of Russia

    tweets: [Russian Prime Minister] Dmitry #Medvedev at the opening of a WWI Centenary exhibition

    Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev at an exhibition, 28 August

    A Reuters reporter has seen a column of armoured vehicles and soldiers near a Russian village about 3km (1.9 miles) from the border with Ukraine.

    The column, which had no military identification markings, was heading east, away from the border.

    A Mi-8 military helicopter with red star insignia landed at a nearby camp manned by unidentified men in camouflage fatigues.

    "The troops sitting on top of the armoured personnel carriers had dirty faces, and one had a bandage on his face," Reuters says.

    Mel jones, Llanddeusant, Wales

    emails: The situation seems to have taken an unprecedented turn and now requires the strongest response from NATO. We need to deploy troops urgently to prevent Putin's imperialistic ideals to recreate the Soviet Union. Ukraine is a sovereign nation with a democratically elected government; the behaviour displayed by Putin deserves the strongest response from our leaders, otherwise we will not have learnt from history.


    The US Ambassador to the OSCE, Daniel Baer, has been discussing the situation in Ukraine.

    "Despite the international community's calls for peace, Russia continues to escalate tensions with activity that is extremely dangerous and provocative," he said.


    "If Russia is serious about peace, or sincerely cares about the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine, it must stop supporting violence through the flow of weapons, personnel, and materiel across the border," Mr Baer added.

    "Moscow's denial that it is destabilising Ukraine is offensive and absurd, given the overwhelming and mounting body of evidence."


    The Ukrainian foreign ministry responded to reports of the rebel/Russian advance on Wednesday evening by simply tweeting the hash tags #UkraineUnderAttack and #RussiaInvadedUkraine.

    Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin has just tweeted #RussiaInvadedUkraine again, without comment.


    Ukraine's ambassador to the OSCE is accusing Russia of a "direct invasion" following reports of advances by Russian troops.

    "We registered a direct invasion by the Russian military into the eastern regions of Ukraine," says Ihor Prokopchuk following a special meeting of the European security body to discuss the latest developments in Ukraine.

    Mark Adomanis, Russia analyst, Philadelphia

    tweets: Yes we'll *say* that Ukraine is a "vital interest" but everyone (and especially the Russians) know that we don't actually mean that.

    Steve Mann, London

    emails: If the reports are true and Russia has in fact sent troops across the border into Ukraine in large numbers; yes this should be considered an invasion. However, even if this is the case Europe and the US need to act accordingly, As stated by NATO's chief, we in "Europe" are in no position to resist a ground offensive by Russia. NATO members have slashed their defence budgets in recent years and Russia has increased theirs by 20% since 2008!! We have taken our eye off the ball and Putin knows it.


    "Stop surrendering Ukraine!" Protesters outside the defence ministry in Kiev make their message clear.

    Protester in Kiev, 28 August
    Aleksandra Gudilkina in Lithuania

    tweets: If this is not a war, then what is it? #RussiainvadedUkraine #WarInEurope

    Sergey Koshman in Kiev

    tweets: Major pro-Russian force in #Ukraine is Russian army. #Putin is commander of pro-Russian rebels. Now it is clear. #RussiainvadedUkraine

    Anatoliy Shatkovskyy in Kiev

    tweets: August 27 will be a day to remember. Sound & quick multilateral action is needed. This cannot go on in our century #RussiainvadedUkraine

    12:49: Olexiy Solohubenko, Editor, BBC World Service

    I think strategically [Russia having the port city of Mariupol] changes the whole set-up in this theatre of war because the whole of the northern coast of the sea of Azov will be under full Russian control.

    Supply routes to the rebels will open up in a completely different way which the Ukrainian naval patrols and border guards will not be able to control at all.

    Pierre Sautreuil, French journalist covering ex-USSR

    tweets (translated from French): The hash tag #RussiainvadedUkraine is the Top Trend in Moscow and Kiev

    Moscow trending topics
    Keith Egan in Greater Manchester, UK

    emails: My wife's family is Ukrainian and Russian. Her friends and family in Berdyansk say there is a big deployment of soldiers in the town. All they want is for everyone to let Ukraine be Ukraine, stop the outside interference from the EU/US-led revolution in Kiev earlier this year to the Russian support of rebels we see today.

    Duncan Crawford, BBC News, Brussels

    tweets: Senior @NATO military officer says there are well over 1,000 #Russian troops operating inside #Ukraine.


    Ukrainian border guards "engaged" a group of saboteurs trying to enter Kherson region from Crimea on Wednesday, Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council says.


    The Russian ambassador to the OSCE, Andrey Kelin, says no Russian forces are crossing the border with Ukraine at any point.


    Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in Mariupol as the country's flag flies overhead.

    Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in Mariupol

    Today's meeting of Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council may consider a proposal to introduce martial law, ministerial aide Zoryan Shkiryak says.

    Former prime minister and defeated presidential candidate Yulia Tymoshenko earlier called for martial law to be imposed in Donetsk and Luhansk.

    Pavlo Klimkin, foreign minister of Ukraine

    tweets: Will be helpful for all to hold next OSCE Permanent Council in Mariupol instead of Vienna & NATO session in Kyiv before/after Newport.


    A journalist for Russia's pro-rebel Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reports hearing loud bangs and seeing black smoke west of the city of Donetsk, which came under shelling again on Wednesday.

    Simon in the UK

    emails: I think the western politicians are too naive. They simply did not realise Russia would not give up Ukraine. Putin believes the West would do nothing. If the West are afraid of war, why not support the Ukraine people? Why not give them military equipment and financial aid?


    A senior MP from Russian President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party, Vyacheslav Nikonov, tells the BBC that the Ukrainian government has fabricated troop numbers to explain why it is being defeated by rebels.

    "I can tell you for sure, there are no official Russian troops there in Ukraine," he says.

    "The problem is that really for Kiev it's very hard to explain why the great Ukrainian army is being defeated now by local coal miners and a few volunteers, who are quite international, yes."

    Dmitri Trenin, director of Carnegie Moscow Center

    tweets: Escalation of war in #Ukraine to an open conflict is now for the 1st time probable, after the failure of the German cease-fire proposal.


    "Save our husbands!" Protesters hold up banners in a demonstration outside the Ukrainian defence ministry in Kiev.

    Rally in Kiev

    Ihor Kolomoisky, the oligarch who governs Ukraine's Dnipropetrovsk region, is preparing to take control of Mariupol, the port city now threatened by the rebel advance, as well as Zaporizhia region because "the invasion may come in that direction", his deputy has told Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainskaya Pravda.

    Christopher Miller, Kyiv Post

    tweets: #Ukraine President @poroshenko stops short of calling #Russia's actions "invasion;" calls it "sharp aggravation."

    14:00: BBC Monitoring

    Ukrainskaya Pravda news and analysis website quotes a diplomatic source as saying Kiev is "deeply disappointed" and "shocked" by the EU's response, or rather absence of it, to Russian troop deployment in south-east Ukraine.

    Peter Spiegel, Brussels bureau chief of the Financial Times

    tweets: Sign things getting hot at @NATO: Supreme Allied Commander @PMBreedlove just cancelled on-record briefing w/reporters at @SHAPE_NATO.


    Henry Langston from Vice News is currently at a checkpoint close to the flash-point town of Novoazovsk and has been speaking to BBC World News.

    "Ukrainian forces have struggled to react against the artillery barrages that have come from the pro-Russian forces," he said.

    "Currently they don't have anything to hit back at, they don't have their own artillery or heavy armour in this position."

    Stephen Gilmore

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay The lack of reaction from EU/UK leaders is making me feel ashamed to be either. We've learnt nothing from history.

    14:17: Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition leader

    The only people who need this war are those who want to profit from it. In whatever way - money, promotion, medals or virtual points, measuring the strength of the regime. Normal people do not need it. No to war.

    Dalia Grybauskaite, president of Lithuania

    tweets: #Lithuania strongly condemns #Russia military invasion into #Ukraine. It is a threat to international peace & security.

    14:33: Carl Bildt, Swedish foreign minister

    The major concern is of course that it does represent a very significant escalation, where we now see regular units of the Russian armed forces fighting inside eastern Ukraine.

    We've seen them supporting separatists and supplying weapons and taking in tanks and whatever for quite some time, including sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems, but for some time we are now as certain as we can be that there are regular Russian forces fighting against regular Ukrainian forces in Ukraine - that's very serious.

    The word is obviously a "war" if this is the case - and everything points to it.

    Carl Bildt

    Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski describes Russia's moves in Ukraine as "aggression" and the most serious security crisis in decades.


    A man distributes humanitarian aid in a refugee camp near Donetsk.

    Man distributes aid
    Nils Jeppe

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay We need to keep cool heads now - but if Russia is really invading, strong response needed. And let's not forget Crimea.

    Tom, London, UK

    writes: Is it the West or the Russians that are being least honest here? If the West are not going to help in any meaningful way then at least tell the Ukrainians this.


    The UN Security Council is to hold an emergency meeting on the current crisis. The session, requested by Lithuania, will be held at 1600 GMT at UN headquarters in New York, diplomats say.

    Jan Michalcak

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay #Hollande should suspend immediately the #Mistral sale to #Russia . Otherwise his criticism of #Invasion is mere populism


    According to AP news agency, a top Ukrainian official says two columns of Russian tanks and military vehicles have rolled into southeastern Ukraine.

    Col Andriy Lysenko says the vehicles fired Grad missiles at a Ukrainian border post before crossing into the country, AP adds.


    A pro-Russia fighter digs a trench in Troitsko-Khartsyzk, 30 km east of Donetsk

    A pro-Russia fighter digs a trench in Troitsko-Khartsyzk, 30 km east of Donetsk, 28 August 2014

    The head of the Russian Union of Committees of Soldiers' Mothers, Valentina Melnikova, tells the Russian RBK business newspaper that 250 conscripts from the Ryazan commando division have been forced to sign contracts for the purpose of sending them to Ukraine next week.

    The division is currently on manoeuvres near the Ukrainian border, she said.

    Ashley Williams

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay how can this happen it's 2014? We should be worrying about isis and building friendships back up over Ukraine

    Justin, Dusseldorf, Germany

    writes: World's leaders must act now, we cannot let Putin destroy the longest peace time the world has ever seen!


    The UK ambassador to the UN, Mark Lyall Grant, tells reporters that "it's very clear that Russian regular troops are now in Ukraine".

    Russia will be asked to explain itself at Thursday's UN Security Council meeting, he adds.


    President Petro Poroshenko is quoted by Interfax news agency as saying that Russian soldiers went "to the rescue" of rebel fighters after they struggled to withstand Ukrainian forces.

    Henry Langston, Vice News

    tweets: 3 buses arrived w/ windows shot out returning from Novoazovsk after trying to evacuate kids Drivers said DNR had shot at them @vicenews

    15:38: Richard Galpin BBC News

    For months government troops had been gaining ground against the separatist rebels in the east. But now suddenly they're being pinned down and forced to retreat from several areas which had been under their control.

    The allegations that separatist rebels now have direct support from Russian troops is also causing alarm in the international community, with western leaders describing it as intolerable and demanding an explanation from Moscow.

    15:40: BBC Monitoring

    President Poroshenko says the situation in the east is "difficult, but under control" and there is no reason to panic, Ukraine's Unian news agency reports.


    Petro Poroshenko speaks at the opening of his emergency meeting with security officials.

    Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko speaks during the opening of the extraordinary sitting of the National Security and Defence Council in Kiev, 28 August 2014
    Liam Dennehy

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Perspective: no one has obligation to protect Ukraine, only ineffectual UN can act without a request & Russia has veto.


    Nato says it has satellite imagery showing Russian forces in Ukrainian territory.

    "We assess well over 1,000 Russian troops are now operating inside Ukraine... supporting separatists [and] fighting with them," Brigadier-General Nico Tak, head of Nato's crisis management centre, told reporters.

    Perk Cartel

    emails: It appears the issue may come down to the military difference between a nationalist army defence force armed to the teeth and an opportunistic armed force of political mercenaries. If I was a gambler, my chips would be with the Ukrainians. The Russians are very tough but recent history shows they're far from invincible.


    One of the satellite images released by Nato, which it claims shows Russian troops operating inside Ukraine.

    A satellite image provided to Reuters by Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (Shape) on 28 August 2014, taken by DigitalGlobe on 21 August  2014, shows what is reported by Shape to be a presence of Russian Self-Propelled Artillery in Ukraine.

    If you are just joining us, welcome to our live updates on the conflict in Ukraine, on the day its president accused Russia of sending in troops to back the rebels in the east, just when they seemed to be on the back foot. With the rebels on the offensive again, Kiev is appealing for international support. Stay with us for breaking news, analysis and colour from correspondents, and readers' comments.

    Maria, Novosibirsk

    emails: The Ukrainian army has been defeated and surrendered during the last few days to the rebels who are not only re-taking control but also advancing to the south. To explain this to the public and the world, the Ukrainian leaders and the media cry out about the invasion all over again with no actual proof.


    "This is Russia. This is 'not Russia'" - that's the message the Canadian Nato delegation has tweeted, in map form, to Russian soldiers "who keep getting lost and 'accidentally' entering Ukraine". BBC Trending has the story.

    Canada Nato graphic
    Russia's envoy to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov, 11 June 2014

    Russia's ambassador to the EU, Vladimir Chizhov, has told the BBC there are only 10 Russian soldiers in Ukraine - the ones who "wandered into Ukrainian territory by mistake". "Nato has never produced a single piece of evidence" of Russian troop activity in Ukraine, he said.

    Olexander Scherba

    Meanwhile, Ukraine's ambassador-at-large, Olexander Scherba, told the BBC Russia had effectively sent "thousands of troops with tanks" into Ukraine, and called it a "travesty".

    "Russia realised... their so-called rebels were about to withdraw from Donetsk and Luhansk... The last hope [was] for the Kremlin to send in the troops and they did."

    BBC News website reader

    texts: It's likely one of Putin's aims is to open an access route to Crimea linking it directly with Russia, carving another part of Ukraine.


    British Prime Minister David Cameron: "We urge Russia to pursue a different path and to find a political solution to this crisis. If Russia does not, then she should be in no doubt that there will be further consequences."


    Back from a mission? Now there are photos of those Russian armoured vehicles Reuters spotted travelling away from the Ukrainian border in Rostov region. One of the soldiers had facial injuries and the vehicles were caked in dust, the news agency says.

    Russian armoured vehicles pass through Rostov region after arriving from the direction of the border of Ukraine, 28 August
    Russian armoured vehicles pass through Rostov region after arriving from the direction of the border of Ukraine, 28 August

    Mr Chizhov went on to tell the BBC that some of the Russians fighting in Ukraine were "retired military" while some were "military on leave", but he insisted they were all there "as volunteers". Earlier, separatist leader Alexander Zakharchenko told Russian TV that 3-4,000 Russian citizens were fighting in Ukraine.


    Ambassadors from the 28 Nato countries and Ukraine will hold an emergency meeting on Friday - Reuters.

    Adegoke Adeniji

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay pro Russian rebel leaders say Russian service men spend vacation fighting with them in Ukraine. Amazing! !


    A Russian man who mounted a lone anti-war picket on Red Square in Moscow this morning has been jailed for 15 days. Dmitry Monakhov had tweeted on the eve of his protest to say he was ashamed to have Vladimir Putin as his president.

    Vitaly, Toronto

    emails: Insurmountable evidence, from Nato, US drone and satellite imagery, and the Ukrainians on the ground - Russia is invading. Stall tactics by Putin and Lavrov to deny anything but Europe need to act now.


    This is a photo of Mr Monakhov being arrested on Red Square as he protested against Russia's actions in Ukraine. For more pictures, see photographer Philipp Kireev's LiveJournal post.

    Dmitry Monakhov being arrested on Red Square in Moscow, 28 August
    16:47: BBC Monitoring

    Ukrainian security spokesman Andriy Lysenko has accused Russian soldiers of "masquerading as terrorist units". "They use their flags and remove any signs of belonging to regular Russian military units," he told Interfax news agency.

    Anthony Lawless

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay my question, how do 3-4000 Russian volunteers/ex military/military on leave, gain access to such equipment and vehicles?

    Citizen of EU

    tweets: Why would #Ukraine Min. of Defence claim that 1000 Russian trops are working with rebels, when #Donetsk PM said 3-4000 Rus are with them?


    Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi says the "entry of Russian troops into Ukraine" is "an intolerable escalation which will lead to very serious consequences" - AFP

    16:59: Paul Adams BBC News

    Nato says it's seen a big increase in the level and sophistication of what it describes as Russia's military interference in Ukraine over the past two weeks. It says it's detected large quantities of advanced weapons being transferred to separatist forces in eastern Ukraine - including air defence systems, artillery and tanks. Moscow denies all the charges.


    tweets: Ukrainian NSDC spox: "Ukrainian troops retreated from #Novoazovsk to save the lives of those who were at the forefront."


    A Russian news site, Ridus, has published photos of what it says was an attack today by rioters in the Ukrainian capital Kiev on a petrol station belonging to Russia's Lukoil oil company.


    Fifteen civilians have been killed by shelling in the rebel-held city of Donetsk, Ukrainian officials say.


    Hundreds of people have turned out for a pro-Ukraine rally in Mariupol, the port city seen as the rebels' next target, should they advance west along the coast.


    Russia's defence ministry says that claims of Russian troops in Ukraine bear "no relation to reality" - Interfax news agency.


    Fifteen people were killed by shelling in the rebel city of Donetsk today alone, officials say. This photo shows the body of one of the victims being carried away.

    Men remove a shell victim in Donetsk, 28 August
    17:31: David Stern BBC News, Kiev

    We are hearing from Ukrainians, Nato officials and Western officials that there is a significant number of Russian troops in Ukrainian territory. People are avoiding using the word invasion, but they are saying incursion. The situation is becoming extremely tense here in Kiev.


    Ukrainian soldiers mount a patrol after being shot at by rebels near Dzerzhynsk in the Donetsk region.

    Ukrainian soldiers mount a patrol after being shot at by rebels near Dzerzhynsk in the Donetsk region, 28 August

    Joseph Dempsey, a military analyst at the Institute for Strategic Studies, tells the BBC he has assessed footage of battle tanks used by rebels in Ukraine.

    "In the last couple of days we've seen footage that can identify to a type of tank, the T-72 BM, which is only in service within the Russian army... it is clearly a tank that could only be provided by Russia."


    German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will discuss the possibility of further sanctions on Russia at an EU summit on Saturday - Reuters.


    "We made it clear in March this year that if there were a further escalation, more sanctions would have to be discussed," Angela Merkel says.

    Thom, Russia

    writes: When Kiev was winning, nobody was saying the USA or EU was helping Kiev, but now the rebels are winning, it is Russia who is to be blamed.


    Concern is growing in Russia among relatives of Russian servicemen unable to locate them or, in the worst cases, having to receive their bodies, the BBC's Oleg Boldyrev reports.

    17:49: BBC Monitoring

    Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council says it will brings back conscription, although conscripts will not be sent to fight in the east, Interfax news agency reports.


    Sweden's foreign minister has told the BBC Russia's actions amount to an "undeclared invasion". "I don't think there is the slightest of doubt what's happening," Carl Bildt said. "Remember Crimea. He [Putin] denied everything concerning Crimea until very very late."

    17:51: BBC Monitoring

    A deputy head of Ukraine's National Security and Defence Council, Mykhaylo Koval, has said Ukraine "expects help from the USA, particularly by being granted a special status of a main non-Nato ally" - Interfax news agency.

    17:54: BBC Monitoring

    Ukraine's Espreso TV broadcasts footage of "two more Russian paratroopers" captured outside Ilovaisk, Donetsk Region. One says (in Russian) he was told he'd take part in an exercise, but instead was taken across the border with Ukraine.


    The US ambassador to the OSCE - the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has told reporters: "The credibility of the Russian Federation's concern for the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine is zero, given that the Russian Federation is behind the violence that is eroding that humanitarian situation."


    Ukraine will return to mandatory conscription, AFP news agency confirms. The decision was taken in Kiev amid fears that recruitment drives had failed to muster enough soldiers.


    Children examine a machine gun of a Ukrainian serviceman patrolling in the city of Dzerzhynsk, in Donetsk region.

    Children examine a machinegun of a Ukrainian serviceman patrolling in the small city of Dzerzhynsk, Donetsk region, 28 August 2014

    Ambassadors to Nato will hold a crisis meeting in Brussels on Friday morning to discuss Ukraine, a diplomatic source tell AFP.


    More than 100 Russian soldiers were killed in eastern Ukraine in a single battle in August while helping separatists fight Ukrainian troops, two members of the Russian presidential human rights council are quoted by Reuters as saying.

    The council is an advisory body with no legal powers and is described as having an uneasy relationship with the Kremlin.


    German Chancellor Angela Merkel is quoted by AFP as saying that European leaders at a weekend summit will discuss the worsening Ukraine crisis and a possible extension of sanctions against Russia.

    "We have repeatedly made clear... That in case of further escalations, naturally new sanctions will have to be discussed," she said.


    Several hundred women gathered outside a military base in Kostroma, central Russia, on Thursday to demand that commanders come clean about the whereabouts of their husbands after reports of secret funerals for soldiers covertly sent to Ukraine, AFP reports.

    Mothers and wives of Russia paratroopers believed captured in Ukraine stand near a check point of their base in Kostroma

    Speaking ahead of a visit to Russia on Friday, European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger says he will make "clear that the current situation (in Ukraine) will put a strain on the energy talks," Reuters reports.


    Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has telephoned President Vladimir Putin to say that the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine is an escalation of the crisis.

    The President of the Russian Federation website says both men "stressed the need to increase efforts by the international community to help end the bloodshed" and "reach a political settlement in Ukraine's internal crisis," BBC Monitoring reports.


    The US State Department says it is seeing "a pattern of escalating aggression" by Russia in Ukraine. It says it is discussing options in response to the Russian involvement, according to Reuters.


    The UN Security Council meeting has started, with Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, giving the opening remarks.

    UN diplomat Jeffrey Feltman at the Security Council meeting on the Ukraine crisis - 28 August 2014

    Mr Feltman tells the UN meeting there has been a "dangerous escalation" of the conflict in "several strategic areas". In one example, he says pro-Russian rebels have been moving towards the "key strategic port of Mariupol".


    Mr Feltman says the UN "cannot ignore" reports of Russian military involvement, which he says would be a "direct contravention of international law and the UN Charter".

    Vladimir, Sochi, Russia

    writes: Too bad that Europe is following the path that the USA has set out for them. I write to you from Russia and want to tell you that we never felt the same hate as you have towards us.

    Sanctions are contra-productive for both sides besides the USA. The threat of not trading goods in dollars is the reason for many American geopolitical games.


    Raimonda Murmokaite, UN ambassador for Lithuania, tells the Security Council that Ukraine "does not need" more Russian troops, tanks and arming of separatist "bands".

    She adds: "For too long now we have been watching a creeping attack against Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity."

    Mark Urban Diplomatic Editor, BBC Newsnight

    tweets: Nato briefed today that there were 1000+ Russian troops in Ukraine. I hear their classified view is 4 battalion task groups are in - nearer 5000.


    Following on from the Reuters report earlier, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says the US is discussing new sanctions on Russia with its allies.

    She adds: "We have additional tools and sanctions that we can certainly choose to put in place."

    Vitas, Vilnisu, Lithuania

    writes: I'm totally lost in this diplomatic mush-mash and don't understand a thing now - everybody knows what's really going on, except maybe Russian society bullied by propaganda.

    Sara Firth,

    a journalist who recently resigned from Kremlin-sponsored TV news channel Russia Today, tweets: At #UNSC meeting again the oft repeated "We cannot allow territorial integrity of Ukraine to be violated" - a little late for that now no?


    Australia's representative at the UN Security Council says there is "overwhelming evidence" that "significant numbers" of Russian troops are operating in Ukraine, and that Russia is arming separatists with "sophisticated" weaponry.

    He said Russia must withdraw its troops and support for the separatists.

    Samantha Power

    Speaking about the claim that Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine are on leave from their military units, Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, says: "A Russian soldier who chooses to fight in Ukraine on his summer break is still a Russian soldier."


    Ms Power says Russia has deceived throughout the conflict and the world had learned to "measure Russia by its actions and not by its words". She says Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an end to the bloodshed but, on the same day, Russian units were operating in at least two locations inside Ukraine.


    More from Ms Power: "Russia has come before the council to say everything but the truth," she says. "We will continue working with G-7 partners to ratchet up consequences on Russia."


    "Russia has to stop lying and has to stop fuelling this conflict," Samantha Power tells the emergency session of the 15-member council. "Every single one has sent a straightforward, unified message: `Russia, stop this conflict. Russia is not listening'," Ms Power says.


    Following a call between David Cameron and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, a British government spokesman says they discussed the "extremely worrying situation in eastern Ukraine and agreed that the European Council must address this". European leaders are due to meet at a summit on Saturday.

    Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin

    Russia's ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, says the ongoing crisis is a "direct consequence of the reckless policy of Kiev, which is conducting a war against its own people".


    Mr Churkin says instead of blaming Russia, the US should "restrain your geopolitical ambitions", adding: "Countries around the world would breathe a sigh of relief."


    UK Ambassador to the UN Sir Mark Lyall Grant says Russia is guilty of "a clear violation of sovereign Ukrainian territory".


    Sir Mark says this conflict would "no longer exist" without Russia's direct support for separatists.


    Sir Mark says there are "well over 1,000 Russian troops in Ukraine", part of sustained Russian involvement in the conflict. He adds: "Denials of this reality fit into the pattern of Russia's dishonest approach."


    UK Ambassador to the UN Sir Mark Lyall Grant condemning Russia's action in Ukraine at a meeting of the UN security Council.

    Sir Mark Lyall Grant - the UK's ambassador to the UN

    Ukrainian representative Oleksandr Pavlichenko says Russia has "deliberately undermined" efforts to achieve peace.


    Mr Churkin, Russia's ambassador, asks if Ukraine's demand for separatists to simply lay down their arms was an attempt to "provoke" more violence. Mr Pavlichenko says Ukraine is "ready to engage on a whole range of issues". He says the only issues which are "not negotiable" are Ukraine's sovereignty, territorial integrity and its "European aspirations".


    Mr Pavlichenko - Ukraine's representative to the UN - asks the Security Council meeting if the world will continue "witnessing silently" or whether UN member states will "finally speak with one voice" to stop Russia.

    Russian separatists near a damaged war memorial at Savur-Mohyla, a hill east of the city of Donetsk.

    Russian separatists were photographed earlier near a damaged war memorial at Savur-Mohyla, a hill east of the city of Donetsk.


    Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird strongly denounces Russia's actions in Ukraine as "unacceptable, irresponsible and absolutely reckless" and says they will only serve to strengthen the resolve of Nato leaders when they meet for a summit next week.


    US President Barack Obama will make a statement at 16:00 (20:00 GMT/21:00 BST), the White House says, amid continuing international condemnation of Russia over its role in the conflict in Ukraine.

    Ukrainian police standing near a smoke bomb as smoke pours out

    There have been protests outside the Russian consulate in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv. The protesters were calling for Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.

    20:52: Michal, Czech Republic

    writes: 100 years after the start of WW1 we are facing war in Europe. We live in comfort everyday without realising that this thing is real and it's close. Where will this end?


    The Czech Republic would support Nato strengthening its military presence in eastern European member countries, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka was quoted as saying on Thursday. "If Poland or the Baltic states would wish it, then we would support such an initiative," Mr Sobotka told the website. "After the Russian annexation of Crimea we understand the worries of the Nato member countries directly bordering Russia or having a Russian minority on their territory."


    Ian Traynor, Europe Editor for The Guardian newspaper, quotes diplomats in the run-up to the 4-5 September Nato summit as saying that Nato forces in the east are "readily deployable" if required.


    Russia's defence ministry has dismissed Nato photographs that apparently show Russian military hardware in Ukraine, saying the accusations were "not funny any more".

    Igor Konashenkov, a ministry spokesman, said the "information contained in this material bears no relation to reality," according to the Interfax news agency.


    Ukrainians took part in a rally in support of their country in Mariupol on Thursday. Earlier, the UN warned that pro-Russian rebels have been moving towards the key strategic port in recent days.

    Ukrainians take part in rally in support of their country in downtown Mariupol, Ukraine

    At a news conference in Washington, President Obama says that Russia is responsible for the violence in eastern Ukraine and that the separatists are armed and funded by Russia.

    President Obama

    The US President says that Russia has repeatedly violated Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty and will face "more consequences" because of its actions.


    Mr Obama adds that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will visit the White House next month.


    President Obama says the "ongoing incursion" into Ukraine by Russia will only lead to additional costs for Moscow. The US State Department confirmed earlier that it was discussing new sanctions on Russia with its allies.

    Strobe Talbott,

    president of the influential Brookings Institute in Washington, tweets: Putin's motive is simple: to keep Russia's neighbour from being a truly independent state & ensure that it's either supine or partitioned.


    Mr Obama says that as a result of Russia's actions, it is more isolated than at any time since the end of the Cold War.


    "I consider the [Russian] actions we have seen in the last few weeks [in Ukraine] to be a continuation of what we have seen for several months now," Mr Obama adds, accusing Russia of pursuing no meaningful action to solve the crisis.


    President Obama says Russia's recent actions are part of a "months-long incursion" but he stops short of calling it an invasion.

    Jonathan Landay,

    a US journalist, tweets: Obama dodges using the I (invasion) word. Says Russian troops in Ukraine is a continuation of past conduct. "It's not really a shift."


    Mr Obama says that Russian decision-making on Ukraine is isolating Moscow: "They're doing this to themselves," he says.


    Mr Obama takes one final question on Ukraine and he uses it to insist there will not be "a military solution" to the crisis.

    "We are not taking military action to solve the Ukrainian problem" he says.

    The impact of sanctions on Russia may not be immediately apparent but they will increasingly be felt, Mr Obama adds.

    Andrew Roth New York Times reporter in Moscow

    tweets: So after a wild day of Poroshenko calling an invasion, rouble plummet, UN sparring, and separatist advance, seems like the status quo stands.


    In a way that tweet neatly sums up a dramatic day in the Ukraine crisis. We're ending our live coverage now, but we will have more information and updates in our news coverage throughout the night.


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