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
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Russia sent over 130 aid trucks rolling into rebel-held eastern Ukraine Friday without Kiev's approval, saying it had lost patience with the Ukrainian government's stalling tactics.unilateral move sharply raised the stakes in eastern Ukraine, for any attack on the convoy could draw the Russian military directly into the conflict between the Ukrainian government and the separatist rebels in the east. Ukraine has long accused Russia of supporting and arming the rebels, a charge that Russia denies.Speaking on national TV, Prime Minister Arseniy Yastenyuk declared that Russia's plan in sending half-empty trucks into Ukraine was not to deliver aid but to create a provocation by attacking the convoy itself, thus arranging a "provocation".Four troops were killed and 23 wounded in the past 24 hours in eastern Ukraine, the government reported at noon Friday.The half-empty aid trucks would be used to transport weapons to rebels and spirit away the bodies of Russian fighters killed in eastern Ukraine, he said.He insisted, however, that Ukraine would not shell the convoy.
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