Aug 22 (Reuters) - Ukraine said on Friday the entry of Russian aid trucks onto its territory was a "flagrant violation" of international law and it appealed to the international community to condemn Russia's actions as illegal and aggressive. The foreign ministry said in a statement that, while Ukrainian authorities had not given the convoy permission to enter, it had been allowed to cross the border to avoid further provocative action.
Earlier, Kiev said Russia had launched a direct invasion of its territory by sending the convoy into eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces. "We call upon all international partners to unite in decisively condemning Russia's illegal and aggressive actions," the ministry said in a statement. "In order to avoid provocations we gave all the necessary commands for the safe passage of the convoy ... We consider this another flagrant violation by Russia of the main principles of international law."
According to the Ukrainian border service, 145 trucks had crossed the border from Russia by 1030 GMT. Ukrainian state security chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko told journalists that the convoy's entry represented a "direct invasion" of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. He said Ukrainian forces would not attack it, though its security could not be guaranteed by Kiev because of fighting by pro-Russian separatists in the east, where the convoy was moving towards the Luhansk region.
I wonder if the Russians planned this all along. Roll the aid convoy across the border and into Lugansk just in time for the Ukrainian Independence Day celebration. This is a real turd in the punchbowl for Kiev, especially since they've been reporting for days that their troops have Lugansk totally surrounded and half taken. Andrew Roth, a reporter for the NYT Moscow Bureau was in Krasnodon and saw the convoy turn onto smaller country roads on their way to Lugansk. That’s why the trucks are only half full. Fully laden semis are not appropriate for country roads. The rebels have assigned a battalion sized unit to provide security for the convoy. Will Russia suppress Ukrainian artillery fire as needed? Will they use counter battery fire or will the polite men in green not be so polite to the Ukie cannon cockers?
For some reason Roth returned to Russia after seeing the convoy pass in Krasnodon. Why not stick with it? It should be a good story. The two reporters from the Guardian and the Telegraph who earlier reported on the Russian BTR 80 convoy are strangely quiet about the movement of the aid convoy into Ukrainian territory. Well, I guess they got their marching orders.