Russia moves convoy of “peacekeepers” near Ukraine as potential invasion escalates

Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia. Georgia, 2008. 

Peace to Ukraine, War in the Donbas

Russia has moved a convoy of “peacekeepers” near the Ukrainian border as potential for an invasion escalates. Valeriy Chalyi, Deputy Chief of the Presidential Administration spoke of this potential escalation on the Shuster Live TV program.

“Russia tried to make a serious provocation just a few hours ago tonight. This provocation could have resulted in an unpredictable development of events and escalation of threats,” said Chalyi.

Chalyi speaking on Shuster Live

“A large convoy was moving towards the Ukrainian border from Russia, accompanied by Russian military personnel and military vehicles.” This action was presented to be in cooperation with the Red Cross. Chalyi also said that the transit of a humanitarian convoy accopmpanied by Russian peacekeepers could have provoked a full-scale conflict should it have crossed the border.

The Red Cross has denied any involvement in the event.

Chalyi informed that while the immediate danger of an escalation was removed since it stopped short of passing into Ukraine, the operational staff continues to work. He also stated that President Petro Poroshenko held an emergency meeting with security officials and continued to communicate with world leaders.

Earlier, First Deputy Head of Presidential Administration of Ukraine Hennadiy Zubko stated that any so-called “peacekeepers” crossing the border will be considered as act of agression.

“The peacekeeping contingent, which has been located near Ukraine-Russia border for more than 5 months, can hardly be called peacekeeping. Therefore, its deployment would be considered direct aggression. I believe that today the international community is not going to approve of the deployment of Russian peacekeeping forces in Ukraine”, said Zubko.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, delivered the warning at a Security Council today on this very topic: “A Russian peacekeeper in Ukraine is an oxymoron,” Power said to the council. “At every step in this crisis, Russians have sabotaged peace, not built it, and it is particularly worrisome given Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea. … Peacekeepers are impartial, yet Russia fully supports Russia’s armed separatists in this conflict.”

Prepared by Vitalii Usenko, Mat Babiak, Alya Shandra

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