I did some more research on the “Russian column” incident. It turns out that a reporter did indeed see a column of Russian military vehicles go through a border checkpoint that was controlled by armed militiamen. However, this column was not partly destroyed by the Ukies. The Ukies own column was destroyed by the rebels, and then they turned their own column into a Russian column and turned the rebels into themselves.
The thing is, I really do believe that Russia is sending military vehicles into the Ukraine. Whether it is sending men is less certain. However, it is allowing rebel fighters to go across the border. Rebels train at bases in Russia for some period, and then they go back into Donbass. OCSE monitors on the border (What are they doing there?!) reported that they did not see any Russian military vehicles going across the border, but they did see a lot of young men in military clothing crossing the border from Russia into Ukraine. These are either Novorussians returning from training inside Russia or they are Russian volunteers.
The notion that there are large numbers of active duty Russian armed forces in Novorussia has not been proven. I know that a couple of Russian military men have documented to have rotated through the area on some sort of an unknown mission, but beyond that, we have no evidence.
A rebel spokesman said that they have 1,200 men and 150 military vehicles including 30 tanks that just came across the border. The men were Novorussians who went to Russia for training at Russian bases. The military vehicles are coming from Russia, that’s for sure. They have been coming for a while, but now they are really starting to pour in.
August 19th: A column of military equipment from Russia went through Nikolaevka and Stanichno in Luhansk region. A caravan of tanks, MLRS Grads, artillery shells and even field kitchens stretched for 1.5 kilometers.
It passed through Pionerskoe and Nikolaevka towards Lugansk. Subsequently, the column was seen in the area of the Epicenter Market in the eastern neighborhoods of Lugansk moving towards Budyonny towards the city center. According to eyewitnesses, the military were reluctant to speak to the the locals, but nevertheless admitted that they were from Russia. We will soon see the same men in green unmarked uniforms that we saw in Odessa.
As previously reported, Russian military columns regularly move through the borders controlled by the militia. These columns are formed of the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Russia.
I am not sure about the part where these vehicles are being driven by active duty Russian military personnel, but the part about large numbers of men in green unmarked uniforms like we saw in Odessa coming in is very interesting. Perhaps Putin is slowly infiltrating troops into the Donbass the same way he moved forces into Crimea.