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Russia Embarks on 'Humanitarian' Mission in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Peter Poroshenko is accepting the assistance, stipulating that Russia must work with the International Red Cross.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia would send a "humanitarian convoy" to Ukraine, according to the Kremlin website, in spite of U.S. warnings against the move. Putin stressed the "urgent need to deliver humanitarian aid to the conflict zone" in Ukraine and said Russia is working with the international Red Cross to send assistance there, according to the Kremlin. The International Red Cross did not immediately respond to requests for comment by NBC News.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called President Barack Obama to tell him he supported the aid mission, but stipulated it must be affiliated with the Red Cross, with participation of the U.S., European Union and other partners, according to Ukraine's presidential website. Meanwhile, the White House said in a statement that Obama and Poroshenko "agreed that any Russian intervention in Ukraine without the formal, express consent and authorization of the Ukraine government would be unacceptable and a violation of international law." Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron also warned Russia against the move on Saturday, threatening further sanctions on Russia if they crossed the border "even under purported 'humanitarian' auspices."


— Elisha Fieldstadt and Albina Kovalyova