Aleksandr Zakharchenko, a rebel commander and the prime minister of the Donetsk People's Republic, stated in an interview on Russian television that the Russians who are fighting Ukraine are simply on "vacation."
"There are active soldiers fighting among us who preferred to spend their vacation not on the beach, but with us, among their brothers, who are fighting for their freedom," Zakharchenko said on state-run television satellite channel Rossiya 24. He reported that as many as 4,000 Russians, including former soldiers, are fighting Ukraine's government forces. "Many of them have gone home, but the majority have remained here," Zakharchenko said. "Unfortunately, some have been killed."
Zakharchenko's statement comes as Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko canceled a visit to Turkey to meet with his security council to discuss what he says is effectively a Russian invasion. "Russian forces have actually entered Ukraine," he said in a statement. Ukraine is also going to request a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, The New York Times reports.