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Ukraine claims 'invasion' as Russian aid crosses border

A Russian aid convoy has crossed into Ukraine without any independent supervision, sparking furious claims of a “direct invasion” from Kiev. The trucks crossed the Russia-Ukraine border on Friday afternoon, having spent the previous 10 days waiting for clearance. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said more than 100 trucks had crossed the border.
"We consider this a direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine," Ukrainian state security chief Valentin Nalivaychenko said.
A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry said "all excuses for blocking aid to the people in disaster areas have been exhausted" and reported that the convoy was moving towards Luhansk, a city in eastern Ukraine controlled by separatist rebels and the scene of heavy fighting.
It warned Ukrainian government forces against any provocation. A humanitarian convoy of 280 trucks had been waiting on the border to be escorted by officials from the International Committee of the Red Cross amid fears in Kiev and the West that Russia would use the convoy as cover for military intervention or to supply the rebels with arms. Russia, which has tens of thousands of troops gathered near the border, had previously agreed for the trucks to be inspected.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry accused Russia of “smuggling” aid into Ukraine “ignoring established international rules.” A statement said efforts by Ukrainian military chiefs to liaise with their Russian counterparts had failed and noted: “Neither the Ukrainian side nor the International Committee of the Red Cross knows the content of the trucks. This arouses special concern.”
In a statement, the Red Cross said it was not supervising the trucks due to the “volatile security situation.”
The four-month conflict in eastern Ukraine has reached a stage where the Ukrainian government has gained the upper hand and has pushed the rebels back to their strongholds around Luhansk and Donetsk. The civilian population is facing severe shortages as government forces encircle the rebels. Food, water and power supplies are reportedly severely affected.

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