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Russian ‘Humanitarian’ Efforts in Ukraine Illegal: World Leaders

The U.S., with Britain and Germany, expressed "grave" concern Saturday about reports that Russian forces had crossed the border with Ukraine in what Moscow called a "humanitarian intervention." The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and called for "urgent measures for preventing an impending humanitarian catastrophe in south eastern regions'' of Ukraine. The statement said that “John Kerry confirmed such work is being carried out with the Kiev authorities,” according to Reuters.

But the White House released a statement saying President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed in a phone conversation that it would be illegal for Russian forces to cross into Ukraine "even under purported 'humanitarian' auspices" without consent from the Ukrainian government. In an earlier phone call, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron agreed that Russia should suffer further sanctions if Moscow decided to take "humanitarian" relief into its own hands. The two leaders "urge Russia to desist from such a move," a White House statement said.

Tension grows along Russia-Ukraine border 0:18

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— Elisha Fieldstadt