News / Europe

Russia to Send Aid Convoy into Ukraine

Armed pro-Russian separatists stop a resident at a checkpoint outside Donetsk, Aug. 5, 2014.
Armed pro-Russian separatists stop a resident at a checkpoint outside Donetsk, Aug. 5, 2014.
VOA News

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday told European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso that Russia was coordinating with the International Committee of the Red Cross to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

“The Russian side, in collaboration with representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), is sending a humanitarian convoy to Ukraine,'' the Kremlin said in a read-out of a telephone call between the two leaders.

The European Commission confirmed that the phone call took place but said that Barroso warned Putin against any military action in Ukraine.

“President Barroso warned against any unilateral military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext, including humanitarian,'' the commission said in a statement.

U.S. President Barack Obama, in phone call Monday, told Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko that any Russian intervention in Ukraine "without the formal, express consent and authorization of the Ukraine government would be unacceptable and a violation of international law," the White House said in a read-out of the call.

Ukraine, which has previously warned Russia against any unilateral initiatives, says it would support a ICRC-led mission with the participation of the EU, Russia, Germany and other partners, according to a read-out of the Obama-Poroshenko phone call as published on the Ukrainian leader’s website. Obama confirmed that “the U.S. intends to play an active part in such an international humanitarian mission,” the statement said.

French news agency AFP quoted Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying that the convoy Russia plans to send to Ukraine will not have a "military escort." He said that the mission had been "agreed with" Kyiv and will be supervised by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The ICRC, in a statement Monday, said no agreement on Russian participation is in place and said "practical details need to be clarified" before such a mission can move forward.  

NATO chief warns of 'high probability' of incursion

Meanwhile, NATO's secretary general says the alliance has seen no sign of Russian forces pulling back from the border with Ukraine and that there is "a high probability" Moscow will intervene militarily in the eastern part of the country.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during an interview with Reuters at alliance headquarters in Brussels August 11, 2014.NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during an interview with Reuters at alliance headquarters in Brussels August 11, 2014.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during an interview with Reuters at alliance headquarters in Brussels August 11, 2014.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks during an interview with Reuters at alliance headquarters in Brussels August 11, 2014.

"We see the Russians developing the narrative and the pretext for such an operation under the guise of a humanitarian operation and we see a military buildup that could be used to conduct such illegal military operations in Ukraine," Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the Reuters news agency earlier Monday.

“Any Russian intervention under the guise of a humanitarian mission would be unjustified and illegal,” Rasmussen said.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov, meanwhile, said Monday that Russia will send humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine, "if we can agree all details with all the partners." He said that if such an agreement is reached, the aid would be sent "immediately" because of the "tragic humanitarian situation" in the region.

Thousands of people in Ukraine's Russian-speaking east are reported short of water, medical aid and electricity, as Ukraine forces battle pro-Russian separatists trying to establish an autonomous region near the Russian border.

On Saturday, Ukraine claimed it had thwarted an attempt by Russia to send troops into Ukraine under a supposed agreement with the Red Cross and the guise of peacekeepers, with the aim of provoking a large-scale military conflict.  Moscow dismissed the allegation as a "fairy tale."

Last week, NATO said Russia had amassed around 20,000 combat-ready troops on Ukraine's eastern border.

NATO intervention?

Asked if NATO would intervene militarily in Ukraine if Russian forces did invade, Rasmussen all but ruled out direct involvement but said there would be consequences for Moscow.

“We are not considering military operations. If the Russians were to intervene further in Ukraine, I have no doubt that the international community would respond determinedly, notably through broader, deeper, tougher economic sanctions that would isolate Russia further,” he said.

Rasmussen accused Russia of creating the “disastrous humanitarian situation” in eastern Ukraine, and suggested that the best way for Moscow to end the crisis would be to “stop the flow of weapons and fighters and money into Ukraine and cease the support for armed separatists and engage in a constructive political dialogue.”

Russia has repeatedly denied direct involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.

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Comment Sorting
by: Igor from: Russia
August 12, 2014 5:37 AM
The West and those in power in Kiev know for sure that people in the East are dying from the lack of food, water, medicine and other basic needs. But they have done nothing to help except bombing and shelling and preventing others' humanitarian missions. Their butality and inhumanity must be stopped!

by: josel from: miami
August 11, 2014 5:51 PM
I don't know why, but I have a bad feeling about all this. I think that it won't end well for Ukraine.
In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
August 12, 2014 12:44 PM
You are right. One half of the nation wants closer ties with the West because of their own interests. The other half wants closer ties with Russia with the same reason. They failed persuade one another to accept their views and decided to kill each other. The outside forces pour more and more oil into the fire because of their own interests. Crazy enough!

by: putintokillyou from: Germany
August 11, 2014 3:56 PM
If EU and USA are so weak nation like Ukraine,which wants to be a part of EU and west,so what are we worth of?

by: maithe from: Paris, France
August 11, 2014 3:25 PM
I don't understand why the ICRC "has had no immediate comment" (quote)
If people are really in a "tragic humanitarian situation" (quote)why and what the ICRC is waiting for ? Some sort of "OK " ? Who is supposed to give it ? And why NATO and not the UN is mixed up with an humanitarian story together with the ICRC ???

by: Dr Masta Marina from: Finland
August 11, 2014 2:55 PM
do you really think Jose Manuel Barrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrosso "warned Putin against any unilateral military actions in Ukraine, under any pretext, including humanitarian..."??? if you do, you have no idea of the European idiotic cowardly corruption.

by: meanbill from: USA
August 11, 2014 1:22 PM
CRAZY isn't it?.... NATO fears Russia will use the same NATO rules, "for humanitarian reasons" to invade Ukraine, like the US, EU, and NATO forces used to attack Yugoslavia, to form the (contested) country of Kosovo....

PS;... By NATO using a vague interpretation of the NATO Charter, they said they were authorized under the NATO rules, to bypass the UN Security Council Charter, and "for humanitarian reasons" attack and wage war on tiny Yugoslavia for Kosovo, (and now), the US and NATO are afraid Russia will use those same NATO rules, "for humanitarian reasons" to invade Ukraine..... What goes around, comes back around, like those NATO rules, that didn't violate the UN Charter?... CRAZY isn't it?..... (Now NATO say's Russia will violate the UN Charter, if they use the NATO rules?)

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