US says Russia must pull Ukraine aid convoy

2014-08-22 22:53:08 | Al Muslim News
US says Russia must pull Ukraine aid convoy

 

The United States has denounced the movement of a Russian aid convoy into Ukraine without permission from Kiev, saying Moscow would face additional costs if the trucks are not removed from the country. "We very much condemn the violation - flagrant violation - of Ukraine's sovereignty that we saw today with the movement of this Russian convoy into Ukraine," Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama, said on Friday. He said the US would discuss the matter on Friday with its partners on the UN Security Council. Russia, however, defended its decision to send the convoy into Ukraine without a green light from the Ukrainian officials, saying there was sometimes "no chain of command" in Kiev and that Moscow was fed up playing games with Ukraine's government.Vitaly Churkin, Russia's UN ambassador, said that Moscow "waited long enough and it was time to move". "At times it seems there is no clear chain of command in Kiev, because some assurances are given (to Russia) at a very high level and then others do not give the orders which are required ... by the border police to let the (aid) trucks in," Churkin said. "That game could not continue indefinitely." Ukraine's state security chief said the move amounted to a "direct invasion" by Russia. "We consider this a direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine," Valentyn Nalivaychenko, Ukraine's state security chief, told journalists, according to the Reuters news agency. He added that Ukraine would not use force against the convoy "to avoid provocations". Border crossing At least 90 trucks crossed the border into eastern Ukraine on Friday, Reuters reported. It was thought they were escorted by pro-Kremlin separatists and later entered Luhansk. The trucks were loaded with water, generators and sleeping bags intended for civilians of the besieged city, where pro-Russian separatist fighters are besieged by Ukrainian forces. More than 200 trucks had been held at the border zone over Ukraine's concerns that Russia had not complied with International Red Cross rules regarding humanitarian aid. Several of the vehicles had been cleared by both countries' customs authorities on Thursday and were waiting for the green light to enter Ukraine from an ICRC team that had been overseeing the operation. Ukraine has expressed repeated fears that Russia may be using the vehicles to smuggle in weapons to pro-Kremlin rebels who have been battling government forces for more than four months. Russia has consistently denied that it is arming separatist rebel groups operating in the eastern cities of Luhansk and Donetsk..

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