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June 23, 2017

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Ukraine to deny entry to 'Putin's' convoy on suspicion of war cargo

KIEV, Ukraine--A massive Russian aid convoy rumbled toward Ukraine's border on Wednesday as Kiev vowed to block what it feared could be a "Trojan horse" bringing military assistance to pro-Kremlin rebels fighting a bloody insurgency in the east.

Russian television images showed a line of nearly 300 trucks moving through the countryside, covered with white tarpaulin and stretching over almost three kilometers (two miles).

The mission has sparked fears the four-month conflict, which has already left over 1,500 dead and plunged relations between Moscow and the West to a post-Cold War nadir, could be about to escalate even further.

Western powers say Russia might use the operation as a "Trojan horse" to sneak in troops or weapons for pro-Moscow insurgents, who have been losing ground against government troops in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine's interior minister Arsen Avakov lashed out at Moscow's move as a "provocation by the cynical aggressor" and reiterated Kiev's insistence that "no humanitarian convoy of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's will be allowed to cross the territory."

Earlier, it said the trucks would be stopped at the border, and the aid unloaded and transported into conflict-torn eastern Ukraine with the help of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

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