Washington: The United States has sought clarification from Russia on its "humanitarian convoy" in Ukraine and stated that the escalation in Russian activity designed to destabilise the war-torn nation is dangerous and provocative.
In a telephonic conversation with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Shoygu, the US Defense Secretary, Chuck Hagel, "requested clarification regarding" the Russian humanitarian convoy in Ukraine, the Pentagon said in a readout of the call.
"Shoygu "guaranteed" that there were no Russian military personnel involved in the humanitarian convoy, nor was the convoy to be used as a pretext to further intervene in Ukraine," the Pentagon said.
"He acknowledged that the goods would be delivered and distributed under the International Committee of the Red Cross," the statement said adding that Shoygu assured Hagel that Russia was meeting Ukraine`s conditions.
Responding to reports of Russian armored military column in Ukraine, the White House said it is working to gather more information regarding reports that Ukraine?s security forces disabled vehicles in a Russian military convoy inside Ukraine.
"We are not currently in a position to confirm these reports. Even as we work to gather information, we reiterate our concern about repeated Russian and Russian-supported incursions into Ukraine," Caitlin Hayden, Spokesperson of the National Security Council said.
"Russia has no right to send vehicles, persons, or cargo of any kind into Ukraine, under any pretext, without the Government of Ukraine`s permission," Hayden added.
"The escalation in Russian activity designed to destabilise Ukraine in recent weeks is extremely dangerous and provocative. It includes supplying separatist fighters with tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, and multiple rocket launchers (MRLs)," Hayden said in a statement.
"Russia has also been firing artillery and rockets from Russian territory into Ukraine on a regular basis, and has been moving multiple-rocket launchers (MRLs) and surface-to-air missile systems (SAMs) across the border to fire on Ukrainian positions -- including its newest air defense systems, the SA-22, into eastern Ukraine," she said.