As it happened - Crisis in Ukraine

Key points

  • Russia has called for an urgent ceasefire in eastern Ukraine to allow aid to reach civilians
  • A huge Russian aid convoy bound for Luhansk in Ukraine has stopped at a Russian town close to the border
  • The Red Cross says it has made contact with the Russian convoy but "practical details remain to be clarified"
  • Ukraine has announced its own aid shipment to Luhansk, a rebel-held city under siege
  • Heaving shelling has killed a number of civilians in the main rebel-held city in east Ukraine, Donetsk
  • A key commander in the pro-Russian rebel movement, Igor "Strelkov" Girkin, is said to have resigned

Live text

Reporting:

  • Laurence Peter 
  • Bernadette McCague 
  • Patrick Jackson 
  • John Harrison 

STANDARD

Welcome to our live page on the crisis in eastern Ukraine, where shelling has intensified in the city of Donetsk as a large Russian aid convoy heads for the neighbouring rebel-held region of Luhansk.

STANDARD 11:51

More than 100 lorries which left the southern Russian city of Voronezh on Thursday morning are now heading for the border with eastern Ukraine.

STANDARD 11:52

As the convoy closed in on the border, artillery shells were fired at targets in the centre of Donetsk. Ukrainian government forces have encircled the rebel-held city.

STANDARD 12:01:

The Russian convoy of trucks, which the Kremlin says is carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine, has been moving towards the border, along a road south of the city of Voronezh.

Russian convoy

STANDARD 12:08

Russia's President Vladimir Putin has given a speech in Crimea, saying the war in Ukraine is a "bloody chaos" and must end soon. He said Russia would do "everything in our power" to ensure the conflict is ended "as soon as possible".

President Putin speaking in Crimea

STANDARD 12:17

Mr Putin urged Russians to "consolidate and mobilise, but not for war or any kind of confrontation". He said: "We must ... build up our country, not fence it off from the outside world." Russia's annexation of Crimea in March triggered a crisis in Russian relations with the West - and both sides have since imposed sanctions on each other.

STANDARD 12:25

Mr Putin says he has approved plans to develop a "military task force" in Crimea, Reuters news agency reports. It is not yet clear what elements will form that force.

STANDARD 12:29

Photographs are coming in from the centre of Donetsk, which came under heavy artillery fire this morning. Here men help a wounded woman in a street. Eyewitnesses said the shelling hit a local prosecutor's office, being used by the insurgents.

Injured woman is helped in Donetsk

STANDARD 12:41

Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian rebels has intensified in eastern Ukraine in recent weeks. The UN says some 2,086 people have been killed since fighting began in April and more than half died in the past two weeks.