Russia is building up forces on its border with Ukraine, and separatists, backed by Russian "mercenaries," are firing on Ukrainian border guards in an attempt to bring armored vehicles into the country, a Ukrainian military spokesman said Monday.
National and Security Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists that: "In the past 24 hours, deployment of [Russian] units and military equipment across the border from the Sumy and Luhansk border points was noticed. The Russian Federation continues to build up troops on the border."
In the early hours of Monday morning, separatists fired on border guards and the armed forces near the border settlement of Dyakove — one of several attacks on border guards that occured as "terrorists and Russian mercenaries" tried to bring in armored vehicles and equipment, Lysenko said.
"The events of the last few days show that the Russian side has embarked on a course of escalation of the conflict in the Donbass," he said.
Lysenko also accused rebel fighters of being behind the cross-border shelling of a Russian residential area in which a Russian man was killed and which Moscow says was the work of Ukrainian forces.
"The [rebel] fighters systematically fire mortar and shoot into Russian territory which killed a Russian citizen," Lysenko said.
Russia was presenting these shooting incidents as the action of Ukrainian forces but these accusations were "absolutely unfounded," he said.