MOSCOW (AA) – Russia has stepped up its war of words with NATO and the West, calling NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s comments on the aid convoy that crossed into Ukraine “another lie.”
Rasmussen condemned Russia for sending an unauthorized humanitarian aid convoy into Ukraine on Friday without the involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
On Saturday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said: “Rasmussen claims that [the] Russian humanitarian aid convoy entered Ukrainian territory ‘without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and without any involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross,’ which is another lie.”
The statement claimed Russia had secured the consent of the Ukrainian government on August 12 for the convoy to cross the border.
When the convoy crossed into Ukraine, state security chief Valentin Nalivaychenko called it a “direct invasion by Russia.”
The convoy of hundreds of trucks has now returned to Russia.
NATO also claimed on Friday that Moscow had sent Russian-manned artillery units into Ukraine, which were shelling Ukrainian government forces as part of a “major escalation.”
Rasmussen added that heavy weaponry including armor and artillery had been recently transferred to separatist groups in eastern Ukraine while Russia increased the number of troops close to the Ukrainian border.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kiev on Saturday.
Merkel said that the Ukrainian border with Russia should be internationally monitored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe so a cease-fire and peace plan could be put in place.
Merkel’s visit precedes talks between Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Eurasian Union summit in Minsk, Belarus, on Tuesday.
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