Ukraine accuses Russia of invasion after aid convoy crosses border

Kiev said Russia had launched a direct invasion of its territory by sending the convoy into eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces.

Ukraine accuses Russia of invasion after aid convoy crosses border

World Bulletin/News Desk

Ukraine said on Friday the entry of Russian aid trucks onto its territory was a "flagrant violation" of international law and it appealed to the international community to condemn Russia's actions as illegal and aggressive.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that, while Ukrainian authorities had not given the convoy permission to enter, it had been allowed to cross the border to avoid further provocative action.

Earlier, Kiev said Russia had launched a direct invasion of its territory by sending the convoy into eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces.

"We call upon all international partners to unite in decisively condemning Russia's illegal and aggressive actions," the ministry said in a statement.

"In order to avoid provocations we gave all the necessary commands for the safe passage of the convoy ... We consider this another flagrant violation by Russia of the main principles of international law."

According to the Ukrainian border service, 145 trucks had crossed the border from Russia by 1030 GMT.

Ukrainian state security chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko told journalists that the convoy's entry represented a "direct invasion" of Ukraine by the Russian Federation.

He said Ukrainian forces would not attack it, though its security could not be guaranteed by Kiev because of fighting by pro-Russian separatists in the east, where the convoy was moving towards the Luhansk region.

RED CROSS DECLINES TO ESCORT

The International Committee for the Red Cross, which both Moscow and Kiev had agreed should supervise the convoy, said it was not escorting it "due to the volatile security situation".

Kiev has been using troops, artillery and air power in an attempt to quell a separatist rebellion that broke out soon after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine in March. The last few weeks has seen a string of rebel defeats in a conflict that has killed over 2,000 people.

Kiev and Western capitals have expressed concern that the convoy could be used as a pretext for some form of direct Russian military intervention. Russia, at odds with Kiev since popular protests drove a pro-Russian president from office, denies the accusation as absurd.

Russia says the aid trucks contain food, medical supplies, water and some clothing.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Thursday he would call on President Vladimir Putin to rein in pro-Russian separatists when the two men meet next week and told the Kremlin chief he had "a strong country, a strong army" behind him.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is scheduled to visit Kiev on Saturday to show her support for Poroshenko - but diplomats say she is also bearing a message that he should consider calling a ceasefire so as not to incur a backlash from Putin.

The dispatch of the Russian convoy onto Ukrainian territory greatly complicates the situation, presenting Ukraine with a stark choice of whether or how to confront what it sees as an illegal incursion.

The Foreign Ministry and Border Guard in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine had no immediate comment on the announcement from Moscow.

Russia denies sending arms and advisers to help the rebels.

After four months of fighting in the industrial, Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine, the area faces a humanitarian crisis, lacking supplies of food, medicine and clean water.

Last Mod: 22 Ağustos 2014, 15:32
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