The Russian Armed Forces command has been transferring special forces and so-called “Cossack formations” to eastern Ukraine to rotate and reinforce the pro-Russian forces, said Ihor Lossovsky, Ukraine’s deputy envoy to international organizations in Vienna, during a session of the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation in Vienna on October 30, Ukrinform reports.
“Through the stretches of the Russian-Ukrainian border not controlled by Ukraine, special forces divisions and so-called ‘Cossack formations’ are being covertly transferred to the temporarily occupied territories to rotate and reinforce the occupation forces,” he said.
According to the diplomat, Russia is taking these measures under the pretext of a comprehensive inspection of the units of Russia’s 1st (Donetsk) and 2nd (Luhansk) Army Corps, which began on October 21.
“In the inspection, special attention is being given to determining alerted divisions’ ability to get to focus areas, with further advancement to forward positions. Supervised sessions of shooting training and combat vehicle driving are being done under the direct leadership of officers from Russia’s Southern Military District,” Lossovsky noted.
He added that the Russian forces still have tanks and self-propelled artillery along the demarcation line that are camouflaged to conceal them from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission.
On the morning of October 29, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko announced the start of the disengagement of forces in Zolote. This came as a complete surprise to the Ukrainian public, because the Joint Forces Operation headquarters had reported shooting in the region several days earlier.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that there had been “no shelling” at the stretch of Zolote where the disengagement took place.