Separatist forces in eastern Ukraine, backed by Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers, battled government forces on two fronts Thursday, a Ukrainian military official said.
The fighting was taking place southeast of Donetsk, and along the nation's southern coast in the town of Novoazovsk, about 12 miles (20 km) from the Russian border, according to Mykhailo Lysenko, the deputy commander of the Ukrainian Donbas battalion.
"This is a full-scale invasion," Lysenko said, referring to the fighting in the south.
A day earlier, Ukraine's National Defense and Security Council told reporters that Russian forces were directing massive artillery fire over the border at Novoazovsk.
Russian forces and pro-Russia rebels have seized villages around the town, the NSDC said.
The NDSC also claimed that members of a Russian tactical battalion were present in the village of Pobeda, in Ukraine's Luhansk region.
"If these troops got lost and accidentally found themselves in Ukraine as well, they should go back East," the update said.
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