August 25, 2014 - 17:46 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Ukrainian military says it is battling armored vehicles that crossed from Russia and headed to the south-eastern city of Mariupol. It said the column was halted near the town of Novoazovsk, according to BBC News.
One military commander said pro-Russian militias might be trying to open up a new southern front.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he not heard the reports but complained of regular "disinformation about our 'incursions'". He also said Russia planned to send another humanitarian convoy into eastern Ukraine "in the next few days" as the humanitarian situation there was "deteriorating".
The first convoy, which returned at the weekend, crossed the border without Ukraine's authorization. Ukraine feared the convoy was carrying military equipment and denounced it as an invasion.
The Russian and Ukrainian presidents are scheduled to meet in Minsk, Belarus, on Tuesday, Aug 26, for talks on the crisis.
Ukraine's military said border guards had halted the column about 5km (3 miles) north-east of Novoazovsk, which is about 10km from the border in the far south-east of Ukraine. Heavy clashes were reported at the village of Markyne.
One commander of a Ukrainian national guard unit in the area told Reuters: "A war has broken out here."
Ukrainian sources said the armored vehicles had crossed the border bearing symbols of the self-styled Donetsk People's Republic. Officials said 10 tanks and two armored personnel carriers were in the column although other reports said the number of vehicles was as high as 30.
Mariupol, a major port on the Azov Sea, is in the hands of Ukrainian government forces, who ousted the pro-Russian armed men from the city in June after weeks of fighting.
A Ukrainian military spokesman said government forces still controlled Mariupol and the road to Novoazovsk.
Spokesman Andriy Lysenko said it was an attempt "by the Russian military in the guise of Donbass fighters to open a new area of military confrontation". But there were enough resources to repel any attack, he added.