This morning, the first trucks from the Russian convoy long delayed in light of an artillery barrage last week, crossed over into eastern Ukraine on Friday without the consent of the Ukrainian government and unaccompanied by observers from the Red Cross, which was one of the original stipulations of sending them into Ukraine in the first place. The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement characterized mostly by its impatience with Kiev’s stalling on the issue, and the crossing had been approved by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The question is, when the convoy encounters Ukrainian government troops and an armed confrontation ensues, will this be the impetus that allows Moscow to send in its own troops massed on the border? State Security Chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko told journalists that “We consider this a direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine,” according to Reuters. However, he promised that Ukrainian forces would not use force against the convoy to avoid “provocations.”
Andriy Lysenko said that the responsibility for the safe movement of Russian trucks through territory that is not under Ukrainian government control is their own responsibility. He also promised that Ukraine’s response would come later in the day, and with the trucks moving at a steady pace towards Luhansk and most Russian backed warlords in Eastern Ukraine starting to abandon their militias, it is unclear what will happen over the course of the day.
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