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UN Security Council to meet over Russia aid convoy

A local resident holds a Russian national flag as lorries, part of a Russian humanitarian convoy cross the Ukrainian border at the Izvarino custom control checkpoint, on August 22, 2014. AFP Photo/Sergey Venyavsky

UNITED NATIONS: The United Nations Security Council is to hold emergency consultations Friday after Russia sent an aid convoy rolling into eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow rebels are fighting Kiev's forces.

Lithuania requested the meeting to be held at 3:00 p.m. (1900 GMT) to discuss the entry of scores of trucks that Ukraine has described as an "invasion."

The 15-member council will hear a briefing from senior UN official Oscar Fernandez-Taranco on the flare-up in tensions over the convoy that the West fears could be used to help separatist forces.

The United States and European governments had urged Moscow to work with Ukrainian authorities and the International Red Cross to check the cargo and ensure it arrives safely to civilians.

Ukrainian officials were blocked Friday from inspecting the content, according to the Ukrainian foreign ministry, and the Red Cross decided against accompanying the convoy due to security concerns.

"Deep concern is raised because so far neither Ukrainian side nor the ICRC (Red Cross) are aware of the content of the cargo," the Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a letter circulated to Security Council members.

Russia insists it wants to get urgently needed assistance to besieged residents who have been without water and electricity for weeks.

Around 20 trucks entered the rebel bastion of Lugansk on Friday, local authorities told AFP.

 

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