Ukraine accused Russia today of sending in dozens of tanks and other heavy weapons into Ukraine's rebel-controlled eastern areas. National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said at least 32 tanks, 16 artillery systems, and 30 trucks loaded with fighters and ammunition had crossed into eastern Ukraine from Russia. He provided no specific evidence or timetable, and it wasn't immediately clear how his agency had obtained the information since parts of Ukraine's eastern border with Russia have been under rebel control since August. Ukraine and the West have continuously accused Moscow of fueling a pro-Russian rebellion in eastern Ukraine with troops and weapons, accusations that Russia has denied.
Russia's Defense Ministry had no immediate comment on Lysenko's statement, but earlier today it again rejected Western allegations that Moscow was deploying more troops near the border. Despite a ceasefire signed two months ago, Ukrainian troops and separatist rebels are still fighting near the airport of the main rebel-held city of Donetsk and a few other areas. Tensions rose further after the rebels held an election Sunday that Ukraine and the West denounced as a violation of the Sept. 5 truce. Russia welcomed the vote but in carefully chosen language: Russian President Vladimir Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, emphasized today that Moscow's statement saying it "respects" the rebel vote doesn't amount to its recognition; he added that Russia wants peace talks to continue. (Read more Ukraine stories.)