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