NATO reports that Russian forces have moved artillery units into Ukraine and begun using them to fire and Ukrainian forces, furthering concerns about World War 3 and ratcheting up the pressure in what is already a tense situation. The New York Times reports that this is the first evidence the West has had that Russia is directly supporting the rebel forces in Ukraine, although it has been suspected for some time.

Ukraine Russia world war 3

Ukraine crisis escalates

Russia has increasingly been making strides into eastern Ukraine, first sending a convoy with provisions into the region without permission from Kiev. Now, however, the situation has become much more serious.

Since the middle of this month, NATO has been receiving reports that the Russian military is directly involved in the unrest in eastern Ukraine. A NATO spokesperson said the reports indicated that “Russian airborne, air defense and special operations forces” moved into the region. Now, she says there is Russian artillery support, not just across the border, but also from inside Ukraine as Russia battles the Ukrainian military.

Russia criticized by NATO

NATO condemned Russia’s move into Ukraine, including the “so-called humanitarian convoy” that went into the country without the permission of Ukrainian officials. NATO also blasted Russia’s decision not to involve the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The statement from NATO adds that the developments in Ukraine “are even more worrying” because of the escalation in military involvement in Ukraine over the last week or so. Officials with the international agency said they saw “large quantities of advanced weapons, including tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery” being transferred from Russia to Ukrainian separatist groups. In addition, the statement from NATO said that its representatives have seen “an alarming buildup” of Russian forces, including both air and ground, in Ukraine.

Is World War 3 imminent?

The crisis in Ukraine has been in danger of boiling over for weeks. This week Ukraine declared that Russia’s air convoy was an invasion. The Ukrainian military attacked a Russian convoy last week. Earlier this month, foreigners from Europe began traveling to Ukraine to fight on behalf of Kiev. The U.S. has also had its say on the situation, and some have criticized Washington’s “meddling.”

This week the U.S. also weighed in on the tensions in Pakistan, only to have its statements criticized there as well. Clearly the countries that are on the brink of war don’t want any outside involvement, and the U.S. is known for trying to get involved in other countries’ wars. Unfortunately to some, this may sound like a recipe for World War 3.