Russian 'humanitarian' convoy to Ukraine a Trojan Horse full of weapons
As Russia's controversial 'humanitarian convoy' headed for the Ukrainian border today, it faced a barrage of social media attack suggesting its true purpose was sinister.
Moscow has insisted that the 280 trucks contain only aid for the war-ravaged residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
But both Kiev - which said it would not be allowed in- and the West have expressed fears it contains military equipment, an accusation strongly denied as 'absurd' by Vladimir Putin's officials.
Russia says the convoy, which left a military base near Moscow on Tuesday, is carrying about 2,000 tonnes of water, baby foods and other goods.
But this afternoon it stopped in central Russia and is now at a standstill near Voronezh, 300km (185 miles) from the proposed crossing.
As Russia's controversial 'humanitarian convoy' headed for the Ukrainian border today, it faced a barrage of social media attack suggesting its true purpose was sinister. Pictured: The lorries in the convoy mocked up as Trojan Horses in an image posted on Twitter
In a social media outburst, critics of the convoy - many of them Russian - ruthlessly satirise the aid. This mocked up image shows the white trucks converted into GRAD missile systems
A graphic of the truck which was posted on the internet this morning reads: 'Putin's humanitarian convoy. A version'
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, visit missile cruiser Moskva in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, yesterday
'No humanitarian convoy of Putin's will be allowed to cross the territory of the Kharkiv region,' warned Ukraine's interior minister Arsen Avakov today.
'Provocation by the cynical aggressor will not be permitted on our territory.''The level of Russian cynicism knows no bounds,' Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said at a government meeting.
'First they send tanks, Grad missiles and bandits who fire on Ukrainians and then they send water and salt.'
Putin was ridiculed by a Ukrainian site with an image of him addressing soldiers on Red Square in Moscow - with Red Cross flags in abundance
One user wrote a poem reading: 'Here it goes, the humanitarian convoy, It carries flowers and chocolates, It is followed by brutal convoy, Which carries GRAD artillery!'
This photo was posted online next to the caption: 'This must be Grad' as social media users voiced their cynicism about the convoy
Meanwhile Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on his Facebook page: 'No Putin 'humanitarian convoy' will be allowed across the territory of Kharkiv region. The provocation by a cynical aggressor will not be allowed on our territory.'
Other officials have suggested genuine humanitarian aid will be allowed to be carried to rebel areas under the auspices of the Red Cross.
There is suspicion that the white-coloured lorries were hastily repainted from military green before the odyssey began.
Russia said the convoy would cross the border at a frontier post near Shebekino town, into Ukraine's government-held Kharkiv region.
However there remained uncertainty today.
One journalist travelling with the trucks said the organisers were 'waiting for political decisions'.
A massive military radar truck seen near the convoy on a video posted on the web has added to the suspicion over the convoy's purpose with critics seeing it as a Trojan Horse intended to provoke an invasion of eastern Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine.
This photo appeared on Twitter next to the caption: 'Humanitarian convoy from Russia'
This photo appeared on Twitter: 'Shakhty town, Rostov region, 9 August. Convoy of humanitarian help is approaching'
In a social media outburst, critics of the convoy - many of them Russian - ruthlessly satirise the aid which follows what the West claims is Moscow attempt to destabilise the region with fighters and heavy arms.
One cartoon image of a Trojan Horse loaded with missiles stated: 'Here it goes, the humanitarian convoy, It carries flowers and chocolates.
'It is followed by brutal convoy. Which carries GRAD artillery!'
Another, also with an image of a Trojan Horse from a Twitter user Mikhail Golub states simply: 'Humanitarian convoy from Russia.'
An image of tanks on railway carriages, a picture apparently taken on 9 August in Russia's Rostov region, is captioned: 'Convoy of humanitarian help is approaching.'
And a white truck from the convoy is shown as if it is loaded with artillery guns under the caption: 'Putin's humanitarian convoy. A version.'
Another loaded with a fearsome weapons system is tagged: 'The white truck - a nightmare of an Ukropitek (Ukrainian + Australopithecus)'.
Putin was ridiculed by a Ukrainian site with an image of him addressing soldiers on Red Square in Moscow - with Red Cross flags in abundance.
Other mocked up images showed the white trucks converted into either GRAD missile systems or Trajan Horses.
Other tweets stated: 'Humanitarian convoy was given 'civilian number plates' this morning. The only thing is left is to put 'baby food' stickers on grenades'
'This must be Grad' - a tweet says pointing to some weird shape covered with tent inside the truck
'Humanitarian Cowboy is it, not a convoy'
A massive military radar truck seen near the convoy on a video posted on the web has added to the suspicion over the convoy's purpose with critics seeing it as a Trojan Horse intended to provoke an invasion of eastern Russian-speaking regions of Ukraine
The video, posted August 10, is called 'Preparations for Humanitarian Operation in south-east Ukraine'
The clip has been watched 730,000 times since it was posted by Roman Tyukov
Solider are seen lining up in the video which has posted online and has fuelled suspicion
'Do they mean to rape you so that they rescue you?'
'Yes this is exactly how Russia brought arms years ago in South Ossetia'
'Beware Russians bringing gifts'.
Video clips showed the Trojan Rabbit, the Monty Python episode involving King Arthur and his knights trying to cheat their way into a French castle, as well as scenes from Lord of the Rings.
One comment from Tatiana Koval stated: 'What does it remind me of? No, not Sarajevo, nor Prague, nor Budapest, nor Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) and Sukhumi (Abkhazia). It reminds me of Troy. As Laocoon said - 'Beware Greeks bearing gifts.'
Strange rumours circulated about the convoy.
Dmitry Snegiryov, head of an organisation called 'Right Action' alleged: 'We received information from a reliable source that each Russian truck with humanitarian aid is equipped with a radio-beacon in order to direct the fire of the GRAD artillery.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, second right, and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, third left, visit missile cruiser Moskva
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is on his first visit to Russia
Today the party's MPs demanded Russian Ministry of Emergencies show 'bring all bomb shelters in Russia to a state of high alert and readiness'
'When the convoy reaches Lugansk, it will be hit by Russian artillery and National guards of Ukraine will be blamed on this.'
Such an attack would give Putin a pretext to invade.
The last few weeks has seen signficant government successes against rebels who have abandoned a string of towns under heavy fire.
Kiev says rebel leaders, some of whom are Russians and who portray the Kiev government as nationalist and seek union with Russia, are receiving arms from Russia, something Moscow denies.
U.N. human rights spokeswoman Cecile Pouilly said the estimated death toll had risen to 2,086 as of Aug. 10 from 1,129 on July 26. The figures included Ukrainian soldiers, rebel groups and civilians, but were 'very conservative estimates'.
'This corresponds to a clear escalating trend,' she told Reuters in response to a query.
The three-kilometre snake of 280 trucks paused over night after its journey from Naro-Fominsk, a suburb of Moscow
It was not clear to what extent the figures reflected escalation of the fighting, which erupted four months ago after a pro-Russian president was driven from office by protests, or delays in gathering data from government and local agencies.
State-controlled Russian television presented a picture of fierce battles around the rebel stronghold of Donetsk, accusing the Ukrainian military of indiscriminate shelling of rocketing of civilian buildings. Residents interviewed said they were being bombed everyday and hiding in cellars.
Today the Communist Party, which ruled Russia for almost seven decades but is now in opposition, called for bomb shelters across Russia to be made ready.
The party's MPs demanded Russian Ministry of Emergencies show 'bring all bomb shelters in Russia to a state of high alert and readiness'.
'This matter is not only about Ukrainian missiles hitting the territory of Russia from the Rostov region border, it is about the shelters all around the country being in a very bad state', said MP Sergey Obukhov.
Poland is making a formal protest to the Kremlin over 'scandalous' comments from a top Russian politician that eastern Europe would be 'wiped out from the surface of the Earth' if the Ukrainian crisis worsens.
Controversial ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the far-right Liberal Democratic Party, claimed on state-owned news channel Rossiya 24 that Putin had already decided to start a third world war.
Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said he had summoned Russian ambassador to Warsaw Alexander Alexeeev to express Poland's anger at the comments by the veteran pro-Kremlin opposition politician.
'Zhirinovsky may be a representative of the opposition, but at the same time he is a public person', said Sikorski. The Polish response 'will not go unnoticed by the Russian authorities'.
'The Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) and Poland, they are doomed,' said the Moscow politician, evidently furious about strong demands for tough action against Moscow over Ukraine from states formerly under Moscow's fist in the Cold War.
'They will be wiped out from the surface of the Earth.
'It is time for the heads of these tiny dwarf states to get their minds back and realise what troubles they are getting themselves into.
'Naturally America is in no danger, is it far away - as for the eastern European countries, they are putting themselves at danger of complete destruction.
'And it is their own fault, as we cannot allow their planes with rockets aimed at Russia take off from their territories.
'We will have to destroy them half an hour before they take off.
'In order to do that we will have to perform carpet bombing to exclude a possibility of any single launcher or any plane being left there.
'So the end result is that there will be no Baltic states and no Poland.'
Ukraine has blasted as 'unacceptable' a visit today by Putin and most of the top Russian leadership to the annexed peninsula of Crimea.
An Ukrainian border guard checks passing cars at the checkpoint of Pletnyovka, Kharkiv region on Ukraine-Russia border, where a Russian humanitarian convoy is planning to cross the border
A boy looks out of the window of a bus leaving the city from the main bus station in downtown Donetsk today
Pro-Russian rebels stand at a block-post on the outskirts of Donetsk seen through the bullet riddled windshield of the bus, eastern Ukraine this morning
A man inspects his damaged apartment during ongoing fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, in Donetsk
At least three people have been killed in the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk in eastern Ukraine as the government intensifies its shelling campaign
His two day visit comes amid deep tension over his intentions in eastern Ukraine with up to 45,000 troops stationed in border regions.
Putin is to address the Crimean parliament but also to hold a meeting in Sevastopol with his Security Council comprising his intelligence and defence chiefs on the crisis in Ukraine.
The city is the headquarters of the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
It is Putin's second visit to Crimea since he annexed the territory in March in the face of Western opposition.
Ukraine's deputy foreign minister Danylo Lubkivskyy strongly attacked his decision to go to the peninsula.
'Crimea is illegally occupied. It is unacceptable for Russian leaders to be staying there,' he said.
'This is the distinct and unambiguous position of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.'
What's REALLY in 300-vehicle Russian 'humanitarian' convoy heading for Ukraine? Fears it could be cover for 'permanent Russian military presence'
A convoy of 280 Russian lorries apparently packed with aid parcels are to be blocked from entering eastern Ukraine amid fears they could be carrying military supplies for pro-Kremlin rebels.
Ukraine said it would prevent the vehicles passing through a 60-mile stretch of rebel-held border because they had not been certified by the Red Cross and had provided no information on exactly what they are carrying or where they are heading.
According to Russian media reports, the white lorries left Moscow this morning carrying up to 2,000 tons of aid - ranging from baby food to sleeping bags - and are now heading for eastern Ukraine.
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Suspicions: A convoy of Russian lorries, including this van, apparently packed with aid parcels are to be blocked from entering eastern Ukraine amid fears they could be carrying military supplies for pro-Kremlin rebels
Journey: An ambulance was part of a convoy of white trucks carrying humanitarian aid along the M4 in Russia's Voronezh region
Transport: Both Kiev and Western governments have warned Moscow not to turn the aid operation into a military operation
Both Kiev and Western governments have warned Moscow not to turn the aid operation into a military operation in a region facing a humanitarian crisis following four months of warfare. The plan now is for the cargo to be taken to a government border in the north of Ukraine - rather than through a rebel-held crossing - where the parcels will be checked by the Red Cross and reloaded on to new vehicles, which will then travel to crisis-hit areas in the east of the country.
'We will not allow any escort by the emergencies ministry of Russia or by the military [onto Ukrainian territory]. Everything will be under the control of the Ukrainian side,' Kiev's presidential aide Valery Chaly told journalists.
Concerns: Ukraine said it would prevent the vehicles passing through a 60-mile stretch of rebel-held border because they had not been certified by the Red Cross
Aid: A Russian Orthodox clergyman blesses the convoy of white trucks as they park up in Alabino, outside Moscow
Plan: The plan now is for the cargo to be taken to a government border in the north of Ukraine - rather than through a rebel-held crossing
On the road: The parcels will be checked by the Red Cross and reloaded on to new vehicles, which will then travel to crisis-hit areas in the east of the country
Long road ahead: Russian media said the 280 trucks had left Moscow and it would take a couple of days for them to make the 620 mile journey to Ukraine's eastern regions
Standing out: The Russian convoy, complete with a police escort, stands out against the other traffic as it passes through Voronezh
Load: The convoy of lorries is reportedly carrying 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid - including 400 tons of cereal, 100 tons of sugar, 62 tons of baby food, 54 tons of medical equipment and medicine, 12,000 sleeping bags, and 69 power generators of various sizes
Russian media said the 280 trucks had left Moscow and it would take a couple of days for them to make the 620 mile journey to Ukraine's eastern regions, where rebel fighters seek union with Russia.
Western countries believe Russian President Vladimir Putin - who has whipped up nationalist fervour in Russia through the state-controlled media since annexing Crimea in March - might be spurred to fresh action since separatists in their main redoubt of Donetsk are encircled by Kiev forces.
Rossiya 24 TV showed a 1.8 mile long line of containers and trucks loaded with crates of water stretched along a road with workers in a light summer wear of shorts and shirts loading sacks of aid.
A Russian orthodox priest marched across the line, spraying them with holy water before they left.
'It has all been agreed with Ukraine,' Business FM radio quoted Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, as saying of an operation publicised with fanfare on Russian TV channels.
Journey: According to Russian media reports, the 280 white lorries left Alabino, near Moscow, this morning carrying up to 2,000 tons of aid - ranging from baby food to sleeping bags - and are now heading for eastern Ukraine
Taking a break: The convoy stops behind a police escort along a road near the city of Yelets
In need of help: Refugees occupy the National University of Donetsk to shelter from the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine. An estimated of 1200 refugees from the Donestk region have fled the fighting
At risk: Thousands of people are believed to be short of water, electricity and medicine in Donetsk and Luhansk due to bitter fighting, which has so far involved government air strikes and missile attacks
Defence force: Ukrainian government soldiers from the 'Donbass' battalion pose for a photo in the village of Mariinka, near Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine this afternoon
The U.S., French and Australian governments voiced concern that Russia - the sole international supporter of pro-Kremlin rebels in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east - could use the humanitarian deliveries to carry out a covert operation to help fighters who appear to be on the verge of defeat.
Today French President Francois Hollande took up the issue directly with Putin, saying 'he emphasised the strong fears evoked by a unilateral Russian mission in Ukrainian territory.'
Hollande told Putin that any mission must be multilateral and have the agreement of the Red Cross and Ukraine, according to a statement in Paris.
Discussions: Russian President Vladimir Putin (front right) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi (front left), are seen during a meeting in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi this morning
Discussions: French president Francois Hollande said he spoke to Vladimir Putin (pictured left, alongside Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi) to raise his 'strong fears' about the content of the aid convoy
The pair attended a welcoming ceremony on board a guided missile cruiser at the Black Sea port of Sochi
Conflict: Both Kiev and Western governments have warned Moscow not to turn the aid operation into a military operation in a region facing a humanitarian crisis following four months of warfare
Hunt: Government soldiers from battalion 'Donbass' search from house to house for pro-Russian rebels in village the village of Mariinka, near Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine yesterday
With Ukraine reporting Russia has massed 45,000 troops on its border, NATO yesterday said there was a 'high probability' Moscow might now intervene militarily in Ukraine.
Itar-Tass news agency said the convoy of lorries is carrying 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid - including 400 tons of cereal, 100 tons of sugar, 62 tons of baby food, 54 tons of medical equipment and medicine, 12,000 sleeping bags, and 69 power generators of various sizes.
Thousands of people are believed to be short of water, electricity and medicine in Donetsk and Luhansk due to bitter fighting, which has so far involved government air strikes and missile attacks.
The U.N. says well over 1,000 people have been killed in the conflict - including government forces, rebels and civilians.
A Malaysian airliner was downed on July 17 with the deaths of all 298 people on board, after apparently being shot down by rebel forces.
Kiev and its Western allies say Russia, which opposes Ukraine's new leadership, has been funnelling tanks, missiles and other heavy weapons to the rebels for months. Moscow denies these claims.
Russia is at war with Ukraine and so effectively at war with Europe, Lithuania's president claimed today as European leaders threatened to impose further sanctions on Vladimir Putin.
The comments from Dalia Grybauskaite come after officials in Kiev accused Moscow of using tanks to 'flatten' the border town of Novosvitlivka.
During an EU summit in Brussels today, David Cameron said it was vital to address the 'unacceptable' situation of having Russian troops on Ukrainian soil.
The Prime Minister has insisted there must be 'consequences' if an estimated 1,000 Russian troops are not withdrawn from the east of the country.
Orphans perch on the top of their cribs in the Ukrainian town of Makeyevka after they were relocated from Donetsk in the wake of the fighting
A nurse cradles one of the 70 children who have been evacuated to the orphanage
Ahead of the meeting, Grybauskate told reporters: 'It is the fact that Russia is in a war state against Ukraine. That means it is in a state of war against a country which would like to be closely integrated with the EU. Practically Russia is in a state of war against Europe.
'That means we need to help Ukraine to ... defend its territory and its people and to help militarily, especially with the military materials to help Ukraine to defend itself because today Ukraine is fighting a war on behalf of all Europe,' the leader of the former Soviet state said. She added that an arms embargo on Russia should be stepped up by including a halt to sales under existing contracts - a swipe notably at France, which has resisted calls to cancel a deal to sell Moscow a strategic new warship.
Outgoing European commission president Jose Manuel Barroso said the situation was in danger of reaching 'the point of no return'.
The sanctions were discussed after Nato released images apparently showing Russian forces and an array of heavy weaponry in Ukraine.
Following the attack on Novosvitlivka, Ukraine military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told journalists in Kiev Russian tanks had and fired on every house in the community.
'We have information that virtually every house has been destroyed,' Lysenko said.
There were also accusations that Ukrainian fighter jet was been shot down by a Russian missile during combat against the rebels.
A brief statement posted on the Facebook page for the so-called operation against separatists said the Su-25 was hit yesterday, and that the pilot ejected and was uninjured.
It said the plane was hit by a missile from a Russian launcher, but did not give more detail.
Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite (left) talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, center, and Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, during an EU Summit. She that Russia is 'practically' at war with the rest of Europe
A medic wearing a mask inspects the children who have been relocated as a result of the increase in tensions
Stockpille: A Ukrainian soldier walks past a pile of shells stored inside a trench in Donetsk
Ukrainian officials say that one of their fighter jets has been shot down by a Russian missile. Yesterday rockets were seen being launched from a Ukrainian army position towards Donetsk
Yesterday Ukrainian forces showed off a cache of weapons that they had seized from Russian forces
Russia consistently denies both that its forces are in Ukraine and allegations that it is supplying the rebels.
Until this week, the fighting had been concentrated well inland. But rebels have taken control of the town of Novoazovsk with the apparent aim of pushing further west along the coast which connects Russia to the Russia-annexed Crimean Peninsula.
The expansion of the four-month-old conflict raised strong calls by the West for Russia to back off its involvement in Ukraine.
Several European Union foreign ministers yesterday accused Russia of invading eastern Ukraine and said Moscow should be punished with additional economic sanctions.
'We see regular Russian army units operating offensively on the Ukrainian territory against the Ukrainian army,' said Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt. 'We must call a spade a spade.'
Military attaches examine a Russian weapons cache - including rocket launchers - seized by the Ukrainian army on displayed in Kiev
Volunteers assist the Ukrainian army by digging trenches near Mariupol in a bid to help defend the area from pro-Russian rebels
The effort by volunteers in the Donetsk region as European leaders meet in Brussels to consider fresh sanctions against Putin
A burned trolleybus is seen near Donetsk train station after shelling in the region over night
Fighting between Ukrainian military forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine has already claimed at least 2,200 lives, according to UN figures.
European Union leaders are today poised to slap additional sanctions on Russia because of what they condemn as a continued destabilization of Ukraine and a deepening military involvement by Moscow.
The 28-nation bloc's heads of state and government on Saturday were also set to discuss possible further assistance for Ukraine as the country's president, Petro Poroshenko, was expected to brief the leaders in Brussels on the situation.
Additional EU sanctions would aim at inflicting more economic pain in hopes of changing what is viewed as Russian meddling in Ukraine.
A woman passes by burnt-out shops in Donetsk as fighting continues to intensify in the region
President of European Council Herman Van Rompuy today welcomed Ukrainian President Porochenko for a meeting at the EU Headquarters in Brussels
Earlier today, Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko accused Russian troops of entering Ukraine, and NATO issued a statement saying that they were tracking well over 1,000 Russian combat soldiers operating heavy weaponry within Ukraine's borders. The announcements follow months of fighting between Ukrainian government troops and pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine—reportedly supported by Russian troops nearby. Ukrainian government forces had been regaining territory held by rebels in recent weeks, only to have the separatists open up battles on new fronts in the region. Caught in the middle is the civilian population, suffering hundreds of injuries and deaths as a result of massive shelling campaigns. Russia continues to deny direct involvement, even explaining that some of its captured servicemen were in Ukraine "by mistake." Below are images from eastern Ukraine over the past few weeks, as the situation may soon escalate even further.
Servicemen sit atop an armored vehicle as they travel through the steppe near the village of Krasnodarovka in Russia's Rostov region on August 28, 2014. A Reuters reporter saw on Thursday a column of armored vehicles and dust-covered troops, one of them with an injured face, driving through the Russian steppe just across the border from a part of Ukraine which Kiev says is occupied by Russian troops. None of the men or vehicles had standard military identification marks, but the reporter saw an Mi-8 helicopter with a red star insignia -- consistent with Russian military markings -- land next to a nearby military first aid tent. The column was driving east away from the Ukrainian border across open countryside near the village of Krasnodarovka in the Rostov region. (Reuters/Maria Tsvetkova) #
Local residents watch as smoke rises, during shelling, in the town of Novoazovsk, eastern Ukraine, on August 27, 2014. Separatist rebels shelled a town in southeastern Ukraine on Wednesday, raising fears they are launching a counter-offensive on government-held parts of the region, one day after the leaders of Ukraine and Russia met to discuss the escalating crisis. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
Ukrainian servicemen, who are members of an artillery section, take cover after firing a cannon during a military operation against pro-Russian separatists near Pervomaisk, Luhansk region, on August 2, 2014. (Reuters/Maks Levin) #
Freight cars loaded with self-propelled howitzers sit in a railway station in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Russia's Rostov region, near the border with Ukraine, on August 23, 2014. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said last week that the alliance had observed an alarming build-up of Russian ground and air forces in the vicinity of Ukraine. (Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk) #
A pro-Russian rebel stands at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Donetsk near a bullet-riddled bus, in eastern Ukraine, on August 13, 2014. At least 12 militiamen fighting alongside government troops against pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine were killed in an ambush, a spokesman for their radical nationalist movement said. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
Smoke rises after shelling in the town of Novoazovsk, eastern Ukraine, on August 26, 2014. Towering columns of smoke rose Tuesday from outside a city in Ukraine's far southeast after what residents said was a heavy artillery barrage. It was the second straight day that attacks were reported in the vicinity of Novoazovsk, which is in eastern Ukraine's separatist Donetsk region but previously had seen little fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian rebels. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
Bloody footprints on the pavement after shelling in Donetsk, on August 14, 2014. Heavy shelling smashed into the center of Donetsk, once a bustling city of one million. Fierce clashes between government forces and rebel fighters killed 74 civilians over the previous three days in Donetsk, local authorities said. (Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images) #
A local man cycles past a building damaged during fighting between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army in village of Semenivka, near eastern Ukrainian town of Slaviansk, on August 23, 2014. (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko) #
A body lies on the pavement after shelling in the town of Makiyivka on August 19, 2014. Ukraine said Tuesday that fighting had erupted in the heart of the major rebel stronghold of Luhansk as government forces pressed on with an offensive to win back the war-torn east.(Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty Images) #
Pro-Russian rebels talk in a field near the village of Khryaschevatoye, eastern Ukraine, on August 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
Ukrainian soldiers park their vehicles on the roadside as they wait for the start of a march into the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, on August 27, 2014. Pro-Russian rebel forces entered a key town of Novoazovsk in southeastern Ukraine on Wednesday after three days of heavy shelling, the town's mayor said, capturing new territory far from most of their battles with government troops.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
A Ukrainian soldier sits atop a self-propelled gun as an army column of military vehicles prepares to roll to a frontline near Illovaisk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, on August 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) #
A building of the Ukrtelecom telephone company burns in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on August 10, 2014.(Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin) #
A Ukrainian serviceman walks beyond a sight for a gun near the eastern Ukrainian town of Luhansk, on August 26, 2014.(Reuters/Gleb Garanich) #
A group of Russian servicemen, detained by Ukrainian authorities, attend a news conference in Kiev on August 27, 2014. Ukraine said its forces had captured a group of Russian paratroopers who had crossed into Ukrainian territory on a "special mission" - but Moscow said they had ended up there by mistake. (Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko) #
Boys play a game of war between Ukrainian army and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk on August 7, 2014.(Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko) #
A convoy of trucks roll on the main road to Luhansk near the village of Uralo-Kavkaz, after passing the border post at Izvaryne, eastern Ukraine, on August 22, 2014. The first trucks in the Russian aid convoy crossed into eastern Ukraine on Friday, seemingly without Kiev's approval, after more than a week's delay amid suspicions the mission was being used as a cover for an invasion by Moscow.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
A refugee, Anastasia, from the Ukrainian town of Sukhodolsk cries as she waits for her four-year-old son Daniel, who is coming with her friends from the Ukrainian side, as white trucks of a Russian aid convoy move to the border control point with Ukraine in the Russian town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia, on August 22, 2014. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin) #
Bystanders watch a fire consuming a school in downtown Donetsk on August 27, 2014, after being hit by shelling. Several civilians died when their car was completely burned after being hit by shell fragments in central Donetsk, the rebel-held city in eastern Ukraine.(Francisco Leong/AFP/Getty Images) #
Volunteers take an oath of allegiance to Ukraine before being sent to the eastern part of Ukraine to join the ranks of special battalion unit fighting against pro-Russian separatists, in Kiev, Ukraine, on August 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) #
A Ukrainian tank moves along a road near Eastern Ukrainian village of Novoselivka Persha on July 31, 2014.(Reuters/Valentyn Ogirenko) #
People hide in a bomb shelter during shelling in the Petrovskiy district in the town of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on August 26, 2014. Several shells hit the local market and nearby houses during a mortar duel between Pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian army.(AP Photo/Mstislav Chernov) #
A Ukrainian Mi-24 helicopter gunship flies above a military base in the eastern Ukrainian town of Kramatorsk on August 26, 2014.(Reuters/Gleb Garanich) #
An armed pro-Russian separatist looks as flames erupt from a gas pipeline after a shelling in Donetsk on August 15, 2014.(Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin) #
The sky lights up shortly after a shelling in Donetsk on August 14, 2014. (Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin) #
A priest blesses volunteers before they were sent to the eastern part of Ukraine to fight against pro-Russian separatists, in Kiev, Ukraine, on August 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky) #
Smoke billows over a residential apartment houses following shelling in Donetsk on August 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
A wounded Ukrainian woman receives treatment after shelling in Donetsk on August 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
A pile of rubble stands in front of a multi-story building in a residential area in Lysychansk, Ukraine, after it was hit by a missile during fighting between the Ukrainian army and the pro-Russian rebels, on August 16, 2014. Lysychansk was retaken by Ukrainian army late last month but has seen sporadic clashes until the previous week. After months of rebel occupation and weeks of Ukrainian liberation, the residents of Lysychansk this shell-shocked border town say they hope simply to rebuild their former lives, but fear the return of war to their doorstep. (AP Photo/Vitnija Saldava) #
Employees unload a truck transporting coffins near graves of pro-Russian separatists at the Sixth Capital municipal graveyard on the edge of Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, on August 21, 2014. The sign on the cross reads "Soldier number 9". (Reuters/Maxim Shemetov) #
Pro-Russian rebels escort captured Ukrainian army prisoners in a central square in Donetsk on August 24, 2014.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
A man throws an egg at captured Ukrainian army prisoners as they were escorted by Pro-Russian rebels in a central square in Donetsk on August 24, 2014. Pro-Russian separatist rebels force-marched dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war along the main street of the rebel-held Ukrainian town of Donetsk. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
Armed pro-Russian separatists escort a column of Ukrainian prisoners of war as they walk across central Donetsk on August 24, 2014.(Reuters/Maxim Shemetov) #
A Ukrainian serviceman, at his position during fighting with pro-Russian separatists in the eastern Ukrainian town of Ilovaysk, on August 26, 2014. (Reuters/Maks Levin) #
Pro-Russian rebels ride on a tank near the town of Makeyevka, eastern Ukraine, on August 23, 2014. Hundreds of Russian aid trucks returned home from rebel-held eastern Ukraine on Saturday, highlighting a dire need for long-term assistance to the region where homes and livelihoods have been destroyed by months of fighting. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
A dead body lies in a street in the southwestern Petrovsky district of Donetsk after shelling on August 13, 2014.(AP Photo/Sergei Grits) #
A slipper lies near bloodstains on a street after recent shelling in the settlement of Makiivka, on the outskirts of Donetsk, on August 19, 2014. (Reuters/Maxim Shemetov) #
Ukrainian government soldiers walk past a burning field after shelling of their base by pro-Russian rebel artillery near Illovaisk, Donetsk region, on August 14, 2014. Ukrainian forces stepped up efforts to dislodge the separatists from their last strongholds in Donetsk and Luhansk and there was more heavy shelling overnight. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka) #
People gather at a temporary tent camp set up for Ukrainian refugees outside Donetsk, located in Russia's Rostov region near the Russian-Ukrainian border, on August 18, 2014. (Reuters/Alexander Demianchuk) #
A Pro-Russian rebel walks in a passage at the local market damaged by shelling in Petrovskiy district in the town of Donetsk, on August 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Mstislav Chernov) #
Local residents cry and hug each other as they sit in a hospital basement being used as a bomb-shelter after shelling in Donetsk on August 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)