International Red Cross to inspect Russian humanitarian aid to Ukraine

Doug Stanglin --- USA Today 

Under the watchful eyes of foreign observers and the International Red Cross, Ukrainian customs officers were set to begin inspecting a 262-truck Russian humanitarian aid convoy Friday under a complicated deal that allowed the trucks to cross the border at a site controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

Ukraine had insisted that the goods -- food, generators and medical supplies -- be inspected and reloaded before being allowed to proceed to hard-hit areas of eastern Ukraine, particularly the besieged city of Luhansk.

For several days, as the trucks wound their way from Moscow, Ukrainian officials expressed concern that the trucks might contain military equipment as a cover for a military invasion.

Adding to the tensions, a dozen Russian armored personnel carriers appeared early Friday near where the Russian trucks were parked for the night.

NATO leader Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed that "a Russian incursion" over the Ukrainian border had been observed.

"It is a clear demonstration of continued Russian involvement in the destabilization of eastern Ukraine," Rasmussen said at a news conference in Denmark, according to the news agency AFP.

A reporter for The Guardian says he saw a column of 23 armoured personnel carriers, supported by fuel trucks and other logistics vehicles with official Russian military plates, crossing into Ukraine "through a gap in a barbed wire fence that demarcates the border."

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