Russian border guards have detained three armed men who drove in from eastern Ukraine aboard a heavy truck and described themselves as "resistance fighters" — Moscow's term for pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine — a news report said.
The KamAZ truck rammed through the barriers at both sides of the border — in Ukraine's Izvaryne village in the Luhansk region, and Russia's Donetsk checkpoint in the Rostov region — during the incident on Tuesday, the southern Russian news site 161.ru reported, citing the local branch of the border guard agency.
The driver did not heed border guards' demands to stop, prompting officers to give chase and open fire on the truck's tires. The vehicle was eventualy brought to a halt some distance away near the village of Volchensky, when security officers blocked its route with another KamAZ truck, 161.ru reported.
Three men were detained, all of whom appeared to be in a state of the extreme intoxication, an unidentified officer who took part in the chase was quoted as saying. "For a long time they couldn't understand what was happening and on the territory of which state they were on," he added.
The heavily armed men initially identified themselves as "resistance fighters," but after their intoxication began to wear off, one of them claimed that he was a hostage, the officer said, adding it was the first time that the guards had seen a hostage "armed to the teeth."
The incident and the men's identity was being investigated, 161.ru reported.
While initial reports made no mention of any injuries during the border chase, a man was hospitalized with gunshot wounds in the nearby town of Kamensk Shakhtinsky on Tuesday, the local Gazetapik.ru news site reported Wednesday, citing the hospital's chief physician Andrei Limanov.
The man, who appeared to be about 30-35 years of age, had no identity papers when he was brought to the hospital, Limanov was quoted as saying. The patient appeared to be a native of the North Caucasus and gave a name that sounded typical for the region but rare among ethnic Russians, Limanov added
Significant numbers of Russian citizens are fighting alongside with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. The fighters include ethnic Russians as well as indigenous North Caucasus people.