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9 Aug, 2014 13:18

Moscow denies Ukraine claims of Russian military infiltration attempt

Moscow denies Ukraine claims of Russian military infiltration attempt

Russia has denied Kiev’s claims that Russian military attempted to infiltrate Ukrainian territory.

“We struggle to understand what the Ukrainian side means. There have been no attempts of infiltration by the Russian army,” said President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov.

On Friday evening Kiev authorities said they prevented an infiltration attempt by Russian military disguised as Red Cross peacekeepers.

Deputy head of the Ukrainian president’s administration, Valery Chaly, told the First National Channel that a huge convoy accompanied by Russian troops and military equipment was moving towards the Ukrainian border - “supposedly in agreement with the Red Cross committee.” He claimed that it was "apparently done in order to provoke a full-scale conflict.”

Peskov also stressed that Moscow is deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. “The [humanitarian] catastrophe is the number one topic for discussion.”

The United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon also voiced deep concerns over the situation in eastern Ukraine stressing that the global body will “continue to actively and closely follow the situation.”

“Innocent civilians trapped in the fighting continue to lose their lives,” he said on Friday. Ban added that “restoring vital infrastructure, not least for water and sanitation, is essential for a return to normal life” and that “the number of those who are fleeing the area continues to grow.”

The UN is ready to consider additional measures of support should the humanitarian situation deteriorate, he said. “At this stage, the situation is being handled appropriately by the Government of Ukraine, in coordination with international partners.”

Earlier on Tuesday UN humanitarian official John Ging told an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council: “since the start of the year 168,677 Ukrainians have been registered as having crossed into Russia, with nearly 60,000 of these having applied for refugee status and a further 115,952 having applied for other forms of legal stay.”

He however stressed that the real numbers are higher, as many Ukrainians who flee the violence do not register with Ukrainian authorities or officially apply for assistance. “The Russian authorities and UNHCR are reporting that 740,000 people have crossed the border since the start of the year.”

Russian UN envoy Vitaly Churkin has said that Russia is ready to provide humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians “on our own.”