Ambassadors of the 28 NATO members Friday met in an emergency meeting in Brussels to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, as the West stepped up its accusations of direct Russian involvement in the conflict.
Russia on Monday said all objections to it sending a humanitarian convoy to Ukraine had been resolved but said no progress had been made in Berlin talks toward a ceasefire between government and rebel forces in the east of the country.
Heads resting on their bags as they wait in stifling heat in their van, 11 women sit stranded at the Ukrainian border as a dispute over a mammoth Russian aid convoy blocks their mission to reach relatives stuck inside besieged Lugansk.
Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists fought skirmishes near the Russian border on Saturday but there was no sign of the conflict widening after Kiev said it partially destroyed an armoured column that had crossed the border from Russia.
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.
President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday Russia would stand up for itself but not at the cost of confrontation with the outside world, a conciliatory note after months of tough rhetoric over the crisis in Ukraine.
In Russia`s southwestern Rostov region bordering Ukraine, a military-style training camp, a broken down border fence and tracks consistent with armoured personnel carriers or tanks add to a body of evidence of Russian involvement in Ukraine`s war.