EU 'deplores' Russia's 'clear violation' of Ukraine border

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The European Union sharply criticized Russia for a "clear violation" of the Ukrainian border on Friday, August 22, after Moscow sent a large aid convoy into the restive east of the country.

"We deplore Russia's decision to enter the humanitarian consignment into Ukrainian territory, without the ICRC's escort or the consent of the Ukrainian authorities," said Sebastien Brabant, spokesman for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton, referring to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"This also goes counter to the previous arrangements reached between Ukraine, Russia and the ICRC. We urge Russia to reverse its decision," he added.

Brabant said Ukraine's sovereignty "must be respected" and commended Kiev "for their restraint as well as their readiness for further talks, in order to avoid a further escalation of the crisis."

Citing international law, the European Commission said the convoy needs to be not only "strictly of a humanitarian nature", but also escorted by the ICRC.

Kiev has condemned the advance as a "deliberate and aggressive" move and said border guards were blocked from checking the contents of most of the lorries.

Nearly 300 trucks driven by men in identical beige clothes had been waiting for the green light to cross since arriving at the border over a week ago. – Rappler.com