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Ukraine Captures Russian Paratroopers

Kiev said it has captured a group of Russian paratroopers on a mission inside its territory but Russia said they were there by “mistake.”

The Ukrainian government said it captured 10 paratroopers from Russia’s 98th airborne division near the village of Dzerkalne in eastern Ukraine, just a few miles away from the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk and 30 kilometers from the Russian border, The Times reported.

Security forces also showed videos of the alleged Russian forces they have captured, the strongest evidence yet of the former Soviet Union state’s involvement in the conflict, and accused the paratroopers of fighting alongside rebels.

The capture came a few hours before the meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko over the growing conflict between the two countries. It is the first time they will meet face-to-face since June.

Russia denied alleged the paratroopers’ “special mission,” Reuters reported.

A defense ministry source of Russian news outlet RIA Novosti said the special forces “strayed” into Ukrainian territory “and most likely crossed [the border] by accident at an unequipped and unmarked zone, and as far as I know they didn’t resist the armed forces of Ukraine [during their detention].”

But Ukraine’s military spokesman, Andriy Lynseko, rejected the claims.

“It wasn’t a mistake, but a special mission they were carrying out,” Lysenko said in a briefing.

Lynseko claims the Russian paratroopers were attacking the town of Novoazovsk, which is also under attack by pro-Russian rebels. The structures there, including a hospital, are on fire.

Russia has since denied the allegations of Kiev and Western countries that it is supporting the rebels.

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