- The Washington Times - Monday, August 11, 2014

Amid fears that Russia will use a humanitarian mission as a pretext for military action in Ukraine, President Obama spoke to the Ukrainian president by phone Monday and said such a move would violate international law.

Mr. Obama, vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko agreed that “any Russian intervention in Ukraine without the formal, express consent and authorization of the Ukraine government would be unacceptable,” the White House said.

Mr. Poroshenko also told Mr. Obama that Russia is continuing to shell Ukrainian territory in its effort to back separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Russia said it is sending a humanitarian convoy into Ukraine in cooperation with the Red Cross. A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the convoy would not include any soldiers.

In the phone call, Mr. Obama encouraged Mr. Poroshenko “to continue to exercise restraint and caution in military operations in order to avoid civilian casualties,” the White House said.

The Ukrainian government said in a statement the Mr. Obama “expressed his support for the president of Ukraine’s actions and in particular his initiative for an international humanitarian mission to Luhansk under the aegis of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with the participation of the European Union, Russia, Germany and other partners.”