Ukraine border guards inspect Russian aid convoy. 

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Ukraine says its border guards are inspecting a controversial Russian aid convoy parked at the frontier.

Ukrainian officials quoted by the Interfax agency said the cargo, bound for cities in eastern Ukraine held by pro-Russian rebels, was being checked.

Ukraine fears the convoy may carry military supplies for the rebels, an accusation Russia has rejected.

On Thursday, two reporters said they saw Russian army vehicles heading into Ukraine, into rebel-held territory.

Ukrainian security officials said that they had spotted a column of armoured personnel carriers and military lorries crossing into Ukraine.

Russia‘s government has consistently denied directly arming or training the rebels, who sparked the conflict in April when they took control of several cities in eastern Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials said that the cargo would be delivered to Luhansk after being inspected.

Luhansk, a rebel stronghold, saw heavy shelling on Thursday, along with Donetsk, which is also held by rebels.

Bottles with water are placed in the back of a truck as Russian Ministry of Emergency Situation decided to show the aid convoy to journalists Journalists were also shown the contents of some of the lorries on Friday morning
Smoke from a burning grass rises over the Russian convoy The convoy set off from near Moscow on Tuesday
 A local man holds a part of a rocket at the site of an explosion in Donetsk The aid is destined for eastern Ukrainian cities hard hit by the fighting, such as Donetsk

‘Stop the bloodshed’

The conflict, which has claimed more than 2,000 lives, has intensified in recent weeks.

The violence began when pro-Russian rebels seized government buildings and tried to declare independence.

The military launched an operation to retake the east, and stepped up its activities in June.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday visited Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in March in a move that drew international condemnation.

Ukraine said it had officially protested to Russia over the visit, saying it was an affront to Ukraine‘s sovereignty.

Mr Putin said Russia‘s goal was “to stop bloodshed in Ukraine as soon as possible”.

He said Russia should not “fence itself off from the outside World” although he said Russia would “not allow anyone to treat us with arrogance”.

On Thursday it emerged that Russia‘s largest oil company, Rosneft, had asked the Russian government for a loan of more than $40bn (£24bn) in order to help it weather the impact of Western sanctions.

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