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French concern over Russian humanitarian convoy to Ukraine

Reuters/Reuters TV

A Russian humanitarian convoy of 280 trucks is heading towards eastern Ukraine. Western leaders have voiced their concern over this, fearing that it could be a cover for supporting pro-Russian rebels.  

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French President Francois Hollande was in telephone contact with Vladimir Putin on Tuesday and voiced his concern about this unilateral Russian mission to Ukraine carried out under the auspices of a humanitarian effort.

The European Union's humanitarian aid chief Kristalina Georgieva also said the content of the Russian aid trucks must be scrutinised to ensure it does not serve political ends.

Western leaders fear that the 280-strong convoy could sneak support to pro-Russian rebels inside the country, that have been loosing ground against the Ukrainian army in recent weeks.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also commented on this matter on Tuesday saying that the Russians might be trying to set up a base near Donetsk and Lugansk with this mission.

Hollande told Putin that any humanitarian operation could only take place on Ukrainian territory and with the consent of the Ukrainian government.

He emphasized that such a mission should be done through a multilateral organization like the Red Cross.

The route that the convoy is taking is being kept secret for security reasons, and it is not yet clear where it will attempt to cross the Ukrainian border.

Ukraine said that it will not allow the convoy to enter its territory and that all cargo will have to be unloaded at the border.  

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