Igor Strelkov, the top military commander of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic", delivering a press conference in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine July 28, 2014. (AFP Photo/Bulent Kilic)
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NATO accused the Kremlin Friday of escalating the conflict in Ukraine, following reports that a small column of Russian armored vehicles had crossed overnight into an area of Ukraine where pro-Moscow rebels are battling government forces.The Russian government denied its troops had entered Ukraine, but the media reports risked further inflaming tensions between Moscow and the West, which have already imposed costly economic restrictions on each other.Despite the allegations of a fresh Russian military incursion, the momentum on the battlefield in eastern Ukraine is with the government forces.Western worries about Russian intervention in eastern Ukraine had focused on a huge convoy that Moscow said was taking humanitarian supplies to Ukrainian civilians.The convoy of some 280 trucks stopped in open fields Thursday near the Russian town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, about 20 km from the border in front of Izvaryne, which is under the control of pro-Russian separatists.There were no signs it would move on any time soon, with negotiations dragging on between Russia, Ukraine, and the International Committee of the Red Cross over granting the convoy permission to enter Ukraine.Most EU leaders have preferred to stay away to show their displeasure over Russia's actions in Ukraine.
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