KIEV, March 17, 2:11 /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has begun recruitment of servicemen for the National Guard.
“The National Guard invites everyone who sees rising for the defense of homeland as an honor,” the ministry said in a report issued Monday night.
The document also contained the telephones of recruitment stations in different cities and regions of the country. These stations are said to be open from early morning through to late night hours.
Ukrainian parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, passed a law on setting up the National Guard March 13. It is being created on the basis of troops reporting to the Interior Ministry.
Alexander Turchinov, whom the Rada appointed Acting President of the country, said the guard should have the manpower of up to 60,000 and the figure can be boosted upon a decision taken by the Rada.
Ukraine is visibly intensifying its military activity in the regions adjoining its eastern borders. According to a report aired by the “24” television news channel, the authorities were moving troops and armoured vehicles closer to the border with Russia.
The aired footage showed a railway train carrying tanks towards the border. The news report offered no hint where the picture was taken. The subtitle merely said that “military hardware is being moved towards Russia.”
In another episode the train was shown at an anonymous station. Tanks and armoured personnel carriers on open flatcars could be seen.
“Troops are being moved to Russia’s border, too,” the subtitle said.
According to local residents, the train arrived at the Kondrashevskaya Novaya station, 10 kilometres away from the eastern industrialized city of Lugansk, on March 15. Other sources said that civilians from nearby villages prevented the unloading of combat vehicles.
Some protesters reportedly used a shunting engine to pull to sidetrack the train and blocked the exit with heavy metal structures.
Most of the military on the train stayed calm and offered no resistance to the civilians.
At a certain point there was a brawl. A group of unbadged gunmen armed with automatic rifles attempted to force the military unit’s commander to “obey orders,” to drive the villagers back and to unblock the rail track. The clash with local civilians that followed ended inconclusively.
The military retreated. The protesters placed round-the-clock posts around the train to prevent the unloading of armoured vehicles.