|Source: Ukraine Liveblog Day 175: An Aid Mission For Eastern Ukraine|
Here we go. Ukraine is in the final stages of wiping out the pro-Russian rebels in Donetsk, and Russia wants to send in aid against the wishes of the Ukrainian Government and without the international community involved:
(Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin said on Monday Russia is sending an aid convoy to eastern Ukraine despite urgent Western warnings against using humanitarian help as a pretext for an invasion.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko came out in support of an aid mission but made clear it had to be an international effort under the aegis of the ICRC, involving the European Union as well as Russia.
He won Obama's backing when they spoke by phone on Monday.
The White House quoted Obama as saying that any Russian intervention without the Ukrainian government's agreement would be "unacceptable" and a violation of international law.
Earlier, Kiev said it was in the "final stages" of recapturing the eastern city of Donetsk - the main base of the separatist rebels - in a battle that could mark a turning point in a conflict that has caused the biggest confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War.
NATO fears Moscow would use any aid mission as a cover to save the rebels, who are fighting for control of two provinces under the banner of "New Russia", a term Putin has used for southern and eastern Ukraine, where mostly Russian is spoken.
Ukraine appears to be pressing ahead with its offensive, undeterred by the presence of what NATO says are about 20,000 Russian troops massed on the nearby border for a potential ground invasion.
Kiev put the size of the Russian forces much higher. "As of 11 o'clock today, about 45,000 troops of the armed forces and internal forces of the Russian Federation are concentrated in border areas," Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a briefing.
He said they were supported by 160 tanks, 1,360 armoured vehicles, 390 artillery systems, up to 150 Grad missile launchers, 192 fighter aircraft and 137 attack helicopters.
Yeah, it looks like the Russians are going to bring aid - aid to the pro-Russian rebels that is.
Russia sending aid convoy to Ukraine despite Western warnings of 'invasion pretext'