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Nato slams Russian convoy 'breach'

Nato's secretary general has condemned Russia for sending a "so-called humanitarian convoy" into eastern Ukraine without the consent of the Ukrainian government.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Russia's unilateral decision to send more than 130 trucks filled with what it called humanitarian aid into rebel-held areas was "a blatant breach of Russia's international commitments" and "a further violation of Ukraine's sovereignty by Russia".

He said the deployment in the conflict-torn area of Luhansk could deepen a crisis "which Russia itself has created and has continued to fuel".

He said the action has coincided with "a major escalation in Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine since mid-August, including the use of Russian forces".

Mr Rasmussen urged Moscow "to stop destabilising Ukraine".

The US government "strongly condemns" the unilateral movement of the convoy into Ukraine, a Pentagon spokesman said.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, called on the Russians to immediately remove the convoy.

He noted that Russia's defence minister had recently "guaranteed" US defence secretary Chuck Hagel that the Russian military would not invade Ukraine.

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