A pro-Russian gunman stands guard at a seized police station in the eastern Ukraine town of Slovyansk. Pic: AP.

SLOVYANSK, Ukraine (AP) — An Associated Press reporter says he saw a column of combat vehicles in an eastern Ukrainian city, occupied by pro-Russian insurgents and flying Russian flags.

AP’s Yuras Karmanau says six armored vehicles rolled into the city of Slovyansk near the Russian border on Wednesday. They were enthusiastically greeted at pro-Russian checkpoints outside the city.

The troops on those vehicles wore green camouflage uniforms, had automatic weapons and grenade launchers and at least one had the St. George ribbon attached to his uniform, which has become a symbol of the pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

One soldier, who identified himself only as Andrei, said the unit was part of the 25th brigade of Ukraine’s airborne forces and that they have switched to the side of the pro-Russian forces.