Russian Convoy Rolling Again as Ukraine Blasts 'Invasion'

Heavy shelling reported in Donetsk
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 14, 2014 8:32 AM CDT
Local resident Valentina Smirnova reacts as she stands in her destroyed house after shelling in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014.   (Sergei Grits)
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(Newser) – A large Russian aid convoy resumed its journey toward Ukraine today, taking a road leading directly toward a border crossing controlled by pro-Russian rebels in the Luhansk region. This is happening amid heavy shelling in the rebel-held Ukrainian city of Donetsk, the BBC reports. By taking such a route, Russia appears to be intent on not abiding by a tentative agreement to deliver aid to a government-controlled border checkpoint in the Kharkiv region, where it could more easily be inspected by Ukraine and the Red Cross. "The plans keep changing, the discussions are going ahead, and we will not confirm for sure until we know an agreement has been reached," a Red Cross spokesperson said in Geneva. The convoy had been halted Tuesday.

Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs says there are 262 vehicles in the convoy, including about 200 trucks carrying aid. Yesterday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko accused Moscow of possibly planning a "direct invasion of Ukrainian territory under the guise of delivering humanitarian aid," and today the government announced that it was dispatching its own convoy of humanitarian aid to the region. The Ukrainian presidential administration has said it will accept aid brought through government-controlled checkpoints in the Kharkiv region and vetted by the Red Cross. Also today, Vladimir Putin approved a defense ministry plan to set up a "Russian military task force" in Crimea, which he promises will not be "excessive," according to Reuters.

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