Russia defends actions in Ukraine

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Russia’s U.N. ambassador is defending his country’s actions in Ukraine, saying the government there is “waging war against its own people.”

He spoke at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, following reports from NATO and Ukrainian officials that Russian troops had invaded Ukraine.

A U.N. official told the council that the latest violence in Ukraine marked a dangerous escalation, but that the U.N. has no way of verifying the reports of a Russian invasion.

A top NATO official said earlier today that at least 1,000 Russian troops have entered Ukraine with sophisticated equipment and have been in direct “contact” with Ukrainian soldiers, resulting in casualties. And a Ukrainian official said two columns of Russian tanks and military vehicles fired missiles from Russia at a Ukraine border post, then rolled into the country.

At the emergency Security Council meeting today, U.S. ambassador Samantha Power said Russia has “manipulated” and has “outright lied.”

Russian ambassador Vitaly Churkin didn’t deny the presence of Russian soldiers in Ukraine. But he questioned the presence of Western advisers there, and also asked where Ukrainian troops are getting their weapons.

He said his message to Washington is to “stop interfering in the internal affairs of sovereign states.”

%@AP Links

188-a-11-(Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, addressing Security Council)-“is not listening”-U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power says the Security Council has now held two dozen meetings on the Ukraine crisis. (28 Aug 2014)

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189-a-13-(Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, addressing Security Council)-“fueling this conflict”-U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power says Russia has crossed another line with the arrival of its troops in eastern Ukraine. (28 Aug 2014)

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APPHOTO XSG103: Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation’s security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that “Russian forces have entered Ukraine,” as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits) (28 Aug 2014)

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