The pro-Western leader said the weekend capture of two purported Russian special forces members proved that the separatist uprising in the industrial east of Ukraine was a guise for a Moscow-orchestrated campaign aimed at breaking up the ex-Soviet state.
"Can I be absolutely clear with you this is not a fight with Russian-backed separatists, this is a real war with Russia," the 49-year-old Ukrainian leader said."The fact that we captured... Russian regular special forces soldiers (is) strong evidence of that."
Ukraine's military on Tuesday showed off two wounded Russians who had been taken prisoner during a firefight in Lugansk - a blue-collar region that together with neighbouring Donetsk revolted against Kiev's shift toward the West 13 months ago.
The men testified during a taped interrogation that they entered the warzone nearly two months ago as part of a 200-strong reconnaissance unit from the Russian army's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU).

A Ukrainian Security Service spokesman said the suspects have been charged with involvement in "terrorist activity" and given a chance to phone their relatives back home. Moscow acknowledges the presence of Russian "volunteers" and off-duty servicemen in Ukraine but rejects charges that they are there under orders from President Vladimir Putin's generals.

Latest News from World News Desk