News / Europe

In East, Ukrainians Await Much-Needed Aid

People walk past a sign that reads
People walk past a sign that reads "Kramatorsk is Ukraine!" painted in colors of Ukrainian national flag, in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 9, 2014.
Gabe Joselow

On a park bench steps from Lenin Square in downtown Kramatorsk, Tatiana, a refugee who escaped the conflict in nearby separatist-held Horlovka, sits quietly in the shade.

She says she cam​e to this city a month ago, as fighting intensified between Ukrainian armed forces and rebel fighters back home.

Staying with a friend, Tatiana had nothing when she arrived, but she receives a little bit of help from the Ukrainian government.

“We came and received three kilos of flour per person and three kilos of buckwheat," she said. "Somehow it will help.”

It is not very much. But she says the people in Horlovka have even less.

Perhaps it is not surprising that she supports the arrival of a Russian aid convoy - scores of trucks said to be carrying humanitarian supplies - that crossed into Ukraine Friday after waiting at the border for days in a diplomatic stand-off.

“I think the convoy came with good intentions,” Tatiana said, “because it doesn't make sense to create such a big story and make something up, so let them bring it. Maybe it will help.” 

The Ukrainian government and its international allies view the deployment of the trucks as a serious provocation. They have repeatedly accused Russia of supporting pro-Russian separatists in the east, and they suspect the trucks could contain supplies intended for rebel fighters. 

Kramatorsk, in Donetsk province, was taken over by separatist forces in April and reclaimed by the Ukrainian military last month.

Alliances with Russia still run high here, but the new city administration is trying to start over and build stronger allegiances to Ukraine. Yellow-and-blue billboards, Ukraine's national colors, across the city read “Kramatorsk is Ukraine.”

Kramatorsk's acting mayor acknowledges the humanitarian needs in the east, but Vorobieva Ekaterina says local authorities should provide that assistance, not Russia.

“We are not counting on it,” she said, “we are relying on our own efforts, on our money, so we are not involving ourselves with [the convoy] at all.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross, tasked by both sides to supervise the delivery of the purported humanitarian assistance, says it is not escorting the convoy into separatist-held parts of Ukraine because of the security risks.

The Red Cross has urged all sides not to politicize the matter, saying tens of thousands of needy are in the conflict zones.

Vitaly, a young worker from a machine-parts factory in Kramatorsk, recently visited refugees who fled the fighting, and says some only the clothes on their backs.

“A woman came in a bathrobe, and with nothing else,” he said. “So people should be helped. I don't want to talk about politics, because everyone is tired of it.”

As tired as they may be, Russia's actions have only further riled Ukraine and the international community. In Kyiv, President Petro Poroshenko said Ukraine will do “everything possible to prevent more serious consequences.”

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mr nobody from: USA
August 23, 2014 12:40 AM
"because it doesn't make sense to create such a big story and make something up"

Actually it does make sense. Just think of Russia as an alternate universe Disneyland. A place where everything is made up.

Telling the truth is some kind of odd weakness, or insanity.

Or worse yet. A scheme so diabolically evil that it actually seems like the truth!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs