Ukraine crisis: Russian convoy prompts Western anger



As Daniel Sandford reports, Russia says its patience ran out

Russia’s decision to send more than 100 aid lorries into war-torn eastern Ukraine without permission has been widely condemned in the West.

The EU and the US called for them to be withdrawn, saying their presence violated Ukraine’s sovereignty. Nato said the move would fuel the crisis.

But Russia said further delays were unacceptable – and also denied that its troops and artillery were in Ukraine.

The first lorries have now reached the besieged rebel-held city of Luhansk.

The UN has held an emergency meeting to discuss the convoy’s entry, which Ukraine has described as an “invasion”.

Meanwhile, Lithuania – a fierce critic of Russia’s actions in Ukraine – has said its honorary consul in Luhansk has been murdered “by terrorists”, a term routinely used by Ukraine for pro-Russian separatists.

Russia denies accusations that it arms and trains the rebels in Luhansk and Donetsk
Russia says that people in the besieged city of Luhansk are in desperate need of supplies

In a phone call, US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel cautioned that Russia was provoking a “dangerous escalation” in Ukraine and that the conflict there “has continued to deteriorate” since a Malaysian airliner was downed last month over rebel-held territory in the east with the loss of all 298 people on board.

The White House and the Ukrainian government have both described the deployment of the convoy as a flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty.

Mrs Merkel, who is travelling to Kiev on Saturday for talks, said she was “deeply concerned” by the developments.

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