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EU warns Putin against action in Ukraine, including humanitarian

European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Monday (Aug 11) against any unilateral intervention in Ukraine, including for humanitarian reasons.

BRUSSELS: European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso warned Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Monday (Aug 11) against any unilateral intervention in Ukraine, including for humanitarian reasons.

"Speaking with President Putin, President Barroso said that the EU would join in international efforts to assist people in need as a result of the conflict," a commission statement said. "President Barroso warned against any unilateral military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext, including humanitarian," it added.

Barroso made separate telephone calls on Monday to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Putin, expressing in both conversations the EU's increasing concern regarding the humanitarian impact of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, especially the civilian casualties.

Russia has pushed for a humanitarian ceasefire in eastern Ukraine as Kiev's forces have encircled large rebel-held cities in the region, but Western countries suspect that Moscow will use the aid mission as cover for sending in troops it has reportedly massed at the border.

Over the weekend, US President Barack Obama, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and Germany's Angela Merkel made it clear they would not brook any attempt by Russia to use humanitarian excuses to sneak troops and military equipment into the conflict-torn east of Ukraine. Russia said on Monday it had reached an agreement with Ukraine on providing humanitarian aid to rebel-held cities, but there was no immediate confirmation from Kiev.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he hoped Western countries would not "interfere" in the agreement.

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