Fedychev said the seizure of the thermal power plant would lead to a destabilization of the situation in the area, which, in his opinion, is one of the goals the militants are striving to achieve.

"A very important point is that the third brigade of special forces’ units were involved in tactical intelligence,” Fedychev said.

“This is the group that can operate up to 700 km into [enemy territory], and it was ordered to operate virtually on the frontline. This is evidence that the TPP is given a very important priority. In fact, its seizure and the discontinuation of the power supply to the northern part of the Luhansk region would destabilize the situation.”

Ukraine’s Aidar battalion on May 16 reported it had captured two Russian special forces soldiers during a firefight near the village of Shastya. The two soldiers, during interrogation, said they were part of a sabotage group of 14 soldiers sent to attack the TPP in Shastya.

Russia has denied the Russian soldiers are acting servicemen. They were found to be carrying identity documents issued by the Luhansk People’s Republic militant organizations, which identified them as members of a people’s militia.

However, Russia is known to have sent Russian regular troops into Ukraine on many occasions before, and serving Russian soldiers have even been interviewed in Ukraine’s Donbas region by Russian and Western media.