Financial Times has asked Russian soldiers, who arrived in Luhansk after a truce was declared, to disclose the purpose of their visit to Ukraine, LB.ua has reported, referring to FT correspondent Courtney Weaver.
"During an encounter with them in the only functioning restaurant in the city - Weeping Willows - she [Weaver] learned that they had been in Luhansk for the past month (meaning that they arrived after the ceasefire, which was declared on September 5)," reads the report.
According to LB.ua, five of the six soldiers agreed to talk to a foreign journalist. Soldiers said that they had been training local separatists and had been conducting their training every day.
One of them, a native of Voronezh region, when asked if he and the others had come as volunteers, replied sarcastically: "Sure." He said that "they gave us an order: who wants to go volunteer?" "And we put our hands up like this," he said, mocking someone being forced to put their hand up.
According to the journalist, all were dressed identically in the latest official Russian armed forces green camouflage uniform, a design that was unveiled only in December 2012. Russian mercenaries appeared to have been staying at the $100-a-night Ramada Hotel in Donetsk.
As reported, Russia denies its soldiers are involved in the fighting in the east of Ukraine. NATO, in turn, recorded the presence of 3,000 regular Russian servicemen in Ukraine.