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Ukraine said on Saturday it had headed off an attempt by Russia to send troops into Ukraine under the guise of peacekeepers with the aim of provoking a large-scale military conflict, a statement Moscow dismissed as a “fairy tale”. Ukraine has made several similar statements about Russian aggression during months of conflict with separatists on its eastern border with Russia that it says are backed by Moscow none of which have been independently verifiable. A senior aide to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko said a large Russian military convoy had been heading for the border on Friday under a supposed agreement with the Red Cross, but had stopped after an appeal by Kiev to Russia. It was not immediately clear what convoy Poroshenko’s aide was referring to. Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Friday it had finished military exercises in southern Russia, near the Ukrainian border, which the United States had criticized as provocative. No one at the Red Cross was immediately available to comment.



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