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Ukraine strikes APCs from Russia as convoy spat deepens

The crisis in Ukraine escalated yesterday as the government said its army destroyed part of a column of military vehicles that crossed the border from Russia, even as Vladimir Putin denied any military presence in the country.

President Petro Poroshenko said Ukrainian forces destroyed part of the column that arrived overnight from Russia. The Foreign Ministry in Moscow meanwhile warned about a potential attack on another convoy carrying humanitarian aid.

The incident adds to the tension building over plans by Russia, which has about 275 trucks near its western border loaded with what it says is humanitarian aid for rebel-held areas in eastern Ukraine. Even with Ukraine saying it doesn’t see the incursion by the armed vehicles as the start of a potential invasion, their arrival has raised the stakes, according to Volodymyr Fesenko, head of the Penta political research institute in Kiev.

“It was a gut check to see if Ukraine will defend itself,” Fesenko said. If Russia “reacts in any way, that would mean that they confirm this convoy was a Russian one, and thus that Russia made a military intervention into Ukrainian territory. But I do not think it will.”

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