The Ukrainian government has confirmed that pro-Russian militiamen seized a column of armoured vehicles deployed in the eastern city of Kramatorsk as part of what Kiev described as an anti-terrorism operation to break a separatist insurgency.
The interior ministry in Kiev said that six BMD vehicles used by its armed forces were captured by locals with the aid of Russian saboteurs.
"They were blocked by local citizens among whom there were representatives of Russian terrorist sabotage groups," the ministry said. "The extremists captured vehicles and moved to Slavyansk."
The vehicles were later spotted flying Russian flags near a government building controlled by pro-Russian militia in the eastern city.
It was not immediately clear if the convoy had surrendered to pro-Russia militia or had switched sides.
One man in a captured vehicle claimed they were Ukrainian servicemen with the 25th Brigade of Airborne Forces who had joined pro-Russian forces. "Our bosses made the decision and we obeyed," he said.
According to other reports the soldiers were disarmed, fed by pro-Russian militants at a local cafe and then put on a westbound bus back to the city of Dnipropetrovsk.