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foreign affairs

Russian truck convoy leaves Ukraine, but Western fears persist

Just a day after more than 260 trucks rolled into Ukraine — without Kiev's consent — Russia's convoy of what it claims carried only humanitarian aid in the form of food and medicine moved back across the border, The New York Times reports.

Journalists allowed to look into some of the trucks reported seeing foodstuffs such as rice, sugar and water, and Russian television stations ran near-constant coverage of the convoy moving to assist in what the Russian Foreign Ministry described as a grave humanitarian crisis in the rebel-held part of the country. But Ukrainian officials said they were only allowed to look at the contents of a fraction of the trucks, and Russia chose to move its convoy across the border without waiting for the previously agreed-upon Red Cross escort.

While the convoy's swift departure shored up Moscow's claims that the operation's goal was solely that "of helping needy civilians," Ukrainian President Petro O. Poroshenko denounced the move as a "flagrant violation of international law."

Meanwhile, NATO officials and leaders from the West claimed for the first time on Friday to have material evidence that Russia's military is operating in Ukraine. While Western officials have accused Moscow of sending help to Pro-Russia militants in Eastern Ukraine for months, they said the use of artillery support both from across the border and within Ukraine pointed to more serious Kremlin involvement in the conflict.