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US threatens further sanctions over Russian aid convoy

The White House joined Kiev tonight in accusing Russia of a "flagrant violation of international law" after a convoy of lorries carrying humanitarian aid crossed the border with Ukraine without permission.

It said Russia should remove them immediately, or face further economic sanctions.

ITV News' Europe Editor James Mates reports from Washington:

UN chief 'deeply concerned' by Russian convoy reports

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said he is deeply concerned at reports of a Russian aid convoy entering Ukraine without permission from the nation's government.

Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement: "While recognizing the deteriorating humanitarian situation, any unilateral action has the potential of exacerbating an already dangerous situation in eastern Ukraine."

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US: Russia convoy 'a flagrant violation' of sovereignty

The White House has called a Russian convoy's move into Ukraine a "flagrant violation" of the country's sovereignty and urged Russia to remove it or face more economic sanctions.

A Russian convoy drives onto the territory of a Russia-Ukraine border crossing point at Donetsk.
A Russian convoy drives onto the territory of a Russia-Ukraine border crossing point at Donetsk. Credit: REUTERS/Alexander Demianchuk

White House deputy national security Ben Rhodes told reporters that sending the convoy into Ukraine adds to the escalation of the conflict "in a dangerous way."

The United States plans to discuss the situation with the UN Security Council later today, he added.

Russian convoy a 'violation of Ukraine's sovereignty'

The Pentagon has accused Russia of violating Ukraine's sovereignty by sending an aid convoy into the country, and warned that it must withdraw all vehicles and personnel "immediately".

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon's press secretary, said in a press conference:

Russia should not send vehicles, persons or cargo of any kind into Ukraine, whether under the guise of humanitarian convoys or any other pretext, without Kiev's express permission.

This is a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity by Russia.

Russia must remove its vehicles and its personnel from the territory of Ukraine immediately. Failure to do so will result in additional cost and isolation.

– Rear Admiral John Kirby, pentagon

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Putin could 'not wait to send aid convoy into Ukraine'

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he decided to send a humanitarian aid convoy into Ukraine because he could no longer wait.

According to the Kremlin account of the phone call, President Putin expressed "serious concern" about the military escalation in eastern Ukraine.

Russian aid convoy is 'violation of international law'

The aid convoy had been held at the Ukrainian border for nearly a week.
The aid convoy had been held at the Ukrainian border for nearly a week. Credit: Reuters

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has said the entry of more than 100 Russian aid trucks into the country is a "flagrant violation of international law."

In a statement on his website, he added none of the trucks' cargo had been checked before being driven in.

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