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West slams Russia over Ukraineaid convoy

Russia yesterday defended its decision to send a humanitarian aid convoy into Ukraine without official permission, saying there was sometimes "no chain of command" in Kiev and Moscow was fed up playing games with the Ukrainian authorities.

Speaking to reporters at UN headquarters in New York, Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin also had sharp words about Lithuania, a temporary member of the UN Security Council, accusing it of systematically cutting down Russian UN initiatives with the aid of the US and Britain.

Lithuania requested an emergency meeting of the 15-nation council yesterday to discuss the latest development in Ukraine as the NATO military alliance said Russian troops were firing artillery across the border and within Ukraine in a major escalation of military support for pro-Moscow rebels.


"We waited long enough and it was time to move," he added. "And this is what we did."

The US and other Western powers have condemned Russia's decision to send the aid convoy into eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are in control, while Kiev has called it a "direct invasion".

In addition, UN chief Ban Ki-moon voiced "deep concern" about the Russian move.

Churkin said it was hypocritical of Western powers to criticise Russia for sending aid to civilians in eastern Ukraine because the West has been demanding similar moves in Syria.