Deputy NSA Adviser: Russia Must Not Misuse Red Cross in Ukraine

Tuesday, 12 Aug 2014 08:45 PM

By Greg Richter

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Russia has joined a multinational group supporting the Red Cross in delivering aid to embattled areas in eastern Ukraine, but Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes warns that Moscow shouldn't try to sneak in a military presence.

If Russia attempts a "de facto invasion," Rhodes told Fox News Channel's "Special Report" on Tuesday, "they will be met with opposition from the United States, Europe and other countries in the international community, including additional sanctions."

Rhodes was not asked whether that opposition would include military force.

Russia is welcome to participate in the efforts under the guidance of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Rhodes said.

Major cities in eastern Ukraine that had fallen into rebel hands, such as Donetsk and Luhansk, are without utilities or supplies. Though thousands have fled amid the fighting, thousands remain.

Russia has been critical of the Ukraine and the United States for rejecting its previous offers of aid. But the West feared Russia would use the efforts as a pretext to build up a military presence inside the country.

Russia backs the rebels and is suspected of actually having its own military personnel inside Ukraine.

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