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US warns Russia to avoid Ukraine

Says any plan to give aid to area seen as a threat

– The United States warned Russia on Friday that any further intervention in Ukraine, including under the pretense of delivering humanitarian aid, would be viewed as “an invasion of Ukraine.”

U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power delivered the warning at a Security Council meeting focusing on the human rights situation in the eastern part of Ukraine, where government forces are fighting pro-Russian separatists.

Recent reports by the West and the Kiev government have accused Moscow of dispatching what NATO estimates is 20,000 troops to the border.

Power said Russia has not only increased aid to the separatists but has amassed “more and more” troops and hardware near the border, began extensive military exercises this week and launched shells across the border into Ukraine.

She noted that Russia has proposed creating “humanitarian corridors” to deliver aid to the separatists.

Power welcomed the Ukrainian government’s creation of humanitarian corridors to get aid into separatist-controlled areas and allow civilians out.

If Moscow wants to send aid to the separatists, she said, it should be delivered by neutral international aid organizations including the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“Therefore, any further unilateral intervention by Russia into Ukrainian territory, including one under the guise of providing humanitarian aid, would be completely unacceptable and deeply alarming, and it would be viewed as an invasion of Ukraine,” Power warned.

Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant on Friday accused Russia of continuing “recklessly to fuel the conflict” by building up its forces on the border, “and now we hear that Russia is ready to intervene on humanitarian grounds to alleviate the suffering that it has manufactured.”