Russian aid convoy enters Ukraine without permission, Red Cross
In a worrying new development, several dozen trucks from a Russian aid convoy have entered Ukraine without their Red Cross observers and despite the fact that Ukrainian authorities have not checked all of the trucks for contraband.
Reuters put the number of tracks that had crossed without permission at around 70, but the Ukrainian government has variously provided figures as low as 34 and high as 90.
The aid has been a point of contention in the international community. It is destined for two cities that have been strongholds of opposition to the Ukrainian government, Luhansk and Donetsk.
Both cities have been under siege by Ukrainian forces. As such they have suffered severe shortages of water, electricity, and telecommunications services.
The presence of the Red Cross was supposed to reassure both sides that the aid was indeed only aid, and that it would be distributed fairly. Now that the trucks have crossed without Red Cross observers, it is an open question as to what will happen next.
Pro-Russian fighters escorted the convoy after it passed through the border without the proper evaluation and authorization, according to Reuters.
While the Ukrainian government has already strongly protested the illegal truck crossing, they have also said that they would not interfere with or attack the trucks.
Another reason Kiev was so worried about the aid convoy is that if something happens to it, Russia could use the incident as an excuse to launch an invasion under the premise of a "peacekeeping" mission.
The absence of the Red Cross also means that there will not be an impartial third party to recount exactly what happened in the even of an attack or anything else.
There have been numerous reports that more than 30,000 Russian troops and thousands of vehicles and other military equipment are stationed on the Russian side of the border.
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