'MOSCOW — After a nearly 10-day standoff, the first trucks of a Russian humanitarian convoy crossed into Ukraine on Friday without the permission of Ukrainian authorities or the accompaniment of the International Committee of the Red Cross — a step that Ukraine’s top security official called an “invasion.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday morning that Moscow had run out of patience with “delays” and other “excuses” from Ukraine. It charged that Ukraine’s leaders were deliberately trying to slow-walk the delivery of aid to the war-torn region of Luhansk until “there is no one at all to provide help to.”
The decision to send in the aid without the consent of the Red Cross or Ukrainian authorities marked a dangerous new step in the four-month conflict. If Ukrainian forces fire on the trucks, they could trigger an all-out invasion by Russian forces that have accumulated by the tens of thousands across the border from eastern Ukraine. If they allow the trucks to disperse across the Luhansk region without any Ukrainian controls, Russia in effect will have imposed a cease-fire in the fight against pro-Russian separatists without Kiev’s permission.
Ukrainian authorities appeared to be scrambling Friday to decide how to respond to the border incursion. A Ukrainian military spokesman backed away from previous bellicose statements, but state security chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko told journalists in Kiev, “We consider this a direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine,” Reuters news agency reported. He said Ukrainian forces would not use force against the convoy because they want to avoid “provocations.”'
Russian aid convoy enters eastern Ukraine; Kiev official denounces