Ukraine attacks Russian convoy, says president

Aug 15, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT
GRABOVO, UKRAINE - JULY 22: Pro-Russia rebels guard the area around the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 during monitoring by investigators from Malaysia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe on July 22, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine.
Rob Stothard/Getty Images

The stand-off between Moscow and Kiev flared intensely on Friday amid Ukrainian claims that it had blown up a Russian military convoy inside its territory.

The Financial Times tracks the escalating crisis:

As speculation mounted that the attack would trigger a Russian invasion, dozens of Russian military vehicles, including columns of tanks, sophisticated anti-aircraft systems and armoured personnel carriers were observed manoeuvring in the hinterlands on Russia’s side of the border. As well as crack Russian paratroopers there were also vehicles and soldiers wearing blue “MC” patches – the designation within Russia’s military for peacekeeping troops.
 
Russia on Friday night denied Ukraine’s claim that it had “destroyed” part of a Russian military convoy on Ukrainian territory. The convoy that allegedly crossed the border into Ukraine did not exist, and such statements based on fantasy and assumptions should not be seriously discussed, the defence ministry said in a statement carried by state media.
 
The Russian foreign ministry accused Ukraine of threatening to use force against its humanitarian aid mission and of sharply stepping up hostilities “with the apparent aim of cutting off the path the convoy should take from the border to Lugansk under the agreement with Kiev.”
 
The U.S. is investigating the reports, with a spokesperson for the National Security Council saying it was gathering information, according to the AP:
 
In a statement Friday, NSC spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said that the U.S. remains concerned about repeated Russian and Russian-supported incursions into Ukraine. She says that Russia has no right to send vehicles, personnel or cargo of any kind into Ukraine, under any pretext, without the government of Ukraine's permission.
 
Hayden calls the escalation of Russian activity in Ukraine in recent weeks, quote, "extremely dangerous and provocative."
 
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