Ukraine Accuses Russia of Invasion
Ukraine declared on Friday that Russia had launched a “direct invasion” of its territory after Moscow sent a convoy of aid trucks across the border into eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces.
Moscow, which has thousands of troops close to the Russian side of the border, warned against any attempt to “disrupt” the convoy it said was a purely humanitarian operation; but it did not say what action it might take if Kiev’s military intervened.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described the entry of the trucks without Kiev’s permission as a “flagrant violation of international law.”
But a senior security chief said Ukrainian forces would not attack the trucks, and had allowed them in, even without proper clearance, to avoid “provocations”.
The Ukraine conflict has driven relations between Moscow and the West to their lowest level since the Cold War, with Western states imposing economic sanctions on Moscow and the Kremlin retaliating. NATO has deployed extra troops in member states bordering Russia, including the Baltic states and Poland.
Kiev called on international allies to unite in “a decisive condemnation of illegal and aggressive actions” by Russia.
Poroshenko said more than 100 trucks had crossed the border, of which only some had been checked earlier by Ukrainian officials inside Russian territory. Other Ukrainian officials said only 34 or 35 of them had been properly checked.
Repeating earlier suspicions by Kiev that the aid cargo could be somehow used to support the separatists, the foreign ministry said: “Neither the Ukrainian side nor the International Committee of the Red Cross knows the content of the trucks. This arouses special concern.”
The fact that Russian vehicles had crossed into Ukraine without permission “testifies to the deliberate and aggressive character of actions by the Russian side,” the ministry statement said.