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Russia sends aid convoy into Ukraine, apparently without permission

Published on Aug 22, 2014 5:29 PM
Trucks of a Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine are parked on the roadside as they drive towards the Ukrainian border near Donetsk on Aug 21, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

DONETSK-IZVARINO BORDER CROSSING, Russia (Reuters) - Russia ordered a convoy of aid trucks across the border into eastern Ukraine on Friday apparently without Kiev's permission, raising the danger of direct confrontation with the Ukrainian military, which is fighting pro-Russian rebels.

A Reuters witness said about 70 white-painted trucks, part of a column of about 260 that had been waiting at the border for over a week, had crossed the border and was heading towards the rebel stronghold of Luhansk accompanied by a small number of separatist fighters.

An unnamed Ukrainian official told Interfax news agency it was not escorted by the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC), one of the terms previously agreed by Kiev and Moscow.

Kiev and Western capitals have expressed concern that the convoy, held up by wrangling over the terms of passage, the content of the cargo and the role of the ICRC, could be used as a pretext for some form of direct Russian military intervention.

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