Saturday 22 November 2014

US warns Russia aid mission to Ukraine would be 'invasion'

Michelle Nichols

Published 09/08/2014 | 02:30

An armed Ukrainian serviceman guards a checkpoint near the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, Donetsk Region
An armed Ukrainian serviceman guards a checkpoint near the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, Donetsk Region
Ukrainian servicemen stand on a bridge ruined during battles between the Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists on the outskirts of Slaviansk, in the Donetsk region
An armed pro-Russian separatist stands in front of damaged buildings following what locals say was shelling by Ukrainian forces in Donetsk
A convoy of military armoured vehicles near a checkpoint in Donetsk region
A Ukrainian serviceman uses a pair of binoculars as he guards a checkpoint near the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve
A Ukrainian serviceman checks his weapon as a fellow soldier rests on a bed near the eastern Ukrainian town of Debaltseve, Donetsk Region
Angel (front) and Rafa (back), volunteers who say they are from Spain, practise shooting at a pro-Russian separatists' base in Donetsk
Rafa, a volunteer who says he is from Spain, practises shooting at a pro-Russian separatists' base in Donetsk

ANY bid by Russia to deliver humanitarian aid into Ukraine would be viewed as an invasion, the US has warned.

Washington added that Moscow voiced similar humanitarian concerns for civilians before its brief 2008 war with Georgia.

Russia has offered to send a convoy of aid across the border for displaced civilians. The offer came at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council that Russia called on Tuesday.

"Given that Ukraine has allowed international humanitarian groups to deliver aid within its territory, there is no logical reason why Russia should seek to deliver it," the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Irish-born Samantha Power, told a Security Council meeting on Ukraine yesterday.

"Therefore, any further unilateral intervention by Russia into Ukrainian territory, including one under the guise of providing humanitarian aid, would be completely unacceptable and deeply alarming. And it would be viewed as an invasion of Ukraine," Power told the 15-member body. Kiev and Western allies have accused Moscow of fuelling the fighting. Russia has denied orchestrating the unrest and said Ukraine's use of force in a bid to end the unrest has made the situation worse.

Nato has warned of a possible invasion by Russia, saying Moscow has massed 20,000 troops on the Ukraine border. Moscow has denied it has any plan to send troops across the border.

On Tuesday, Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin described the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine as "disastrous."

"We would like to send a convoy with Russian humanitarian assistance ... with the accompaniment of the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross)," Churkin said.

"We stand ready to act with optimal transparency, let the international community monitor the convoys, transport routes and distribution of aid."

Irish Independent

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