As part of their invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces have used insignia of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to descend on several cities in the Luhansk region, Ukraine’s National Police warned Thursday.
“Columns of Russian tanks entered the Luhansk region at the borders of Krasnaya Talovka, Milove, and Gorodishche. The enemy insidiously placed white vehicles with OSCE symbols at the front. Fighting is currently underway there,” police said in a statement.
International monitors from the OSCE have been working along the frontline in Eastern Ukraine since 2014 to document fighting and ultimately help reduce tensions. The organization has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called for an end to the war.
Similarly deceptive tactics by invading forces were reported on the other side of the country, in Sarny, Rivne, where Mayor Ruslan Serpeninov issued a video address to residents, warning them that sabotage and reconnaissance units were entering the country from Belarus wearing Ukrainian military and police uniforms.
He said the imposters were wearing red ribbons—a claim echoed by the National Police.
The police service called on citizens nationwide to be on the lookout for “suspicious people on the streets,” particularly those with “elements of red.”
They called on residents to call police immediately to report “suspicious people with elements of red on their clothes.”
The disguises were part of a multi-faceted attack Russia launched against Ukraine at dawn Thursday, after denying for weeks that any invasion was in the works. More than a dozen Ukrainians were reported dead in the first few hours of the offensive, some of them civilians.