Concerns Russia moving to annex South Ossetia as treaty signed with Georgia breakaway region

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a wide-ranging treaty with the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia, which critics say paves the way for Moscow to annex the territory.

The “Treaty on Alliance and Integration” determines the long-term relations between Russia and South Ossetia, Putin said after signing the document in the Kremlin with Leonid Tibilov, the region’s president. Continue reading

Tensions soar as Ukraine says destroys Russian armour

Kiev (AFP) – Ukraine said on Friday it had destroyed part of a Russian military convoy that crossed onto its territory in an incursion that has sent cross-border tensions rocketing.

NATO accused Russia of active involvement in the “destabilisation” of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Kremlin separatists have been fighting against Kiev for four months.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told British Prime Minister David Cameron that government artillery had destroyed a “considerable part” of a small military convoy that entered the country, the presidency said in a statement. Continue reading

Russian convoy vanishes on road to Ukraine

Uncertainty surrounded a 262-truck “aid convoy” on Wednesday that appeared to grind to a halt before reaching the border

The convoy, which departed from an army base near Moscow on Tuesday, appeared to vanish on Wednesday, adding to confusion surrounding the route and purpose of the cargo.

Last seen in the city of Voronezh, 300 miles south of Moscow, on Tuesday, the convoy never reached the border near the Russian city of Belgorod that the Russian foreign ministry said it would use.

Rumours that the convoy had headed south from Voronezh to cross the border directly into rebel-held territory – a move that would be viewed by Kiev as tantamount to a declaration of war – could not be substantiated.

Russian state television initially reported the convoy to be en route to Belgorod. But journalists waiting at the Pletenivka checkpoint, on the Ukrainian side of the border where Russia had said the convoy would cross, saw no sign of the vehicles. Continue reading