News / Europe

    Ukraine to Deny Access to Russian Aid Convoy

    • A Russian Orthodox Church clergyman blesses a convoy of white trucks with humanitarian aid in Alabino, outside Moscow, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014
    • The convoy on the road as it leaves Alabino, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014.
    • A woman emerges from a basement which she used as a shelter during shelling in Donetsk, Aug. 12, 2014.
    • A man holds the remains of a rocket which he said was fired by Ukrainian army. Donetsk, Aug. 12, 2014.
    • A man searches through the debris of his house, ruined during recent shelling in Donetsk, Aug. 12, 2014.
    • A man sells vegetables in Donetsk, Aug. 12, 2014.
    • A Ukrainian government soldier from the "Donbass" battalion guards a position in the village of Mariinka, near Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Aug. 12, 2014.
    • Police stand guard during a rally in front of the parliament building in Kyiv, Aug. 12, 2014.
    Ukraine - Tuesday, August 12
    Gabe Joselow

    A convoy of nearly 300 Russian trucks is headed from Moscow to the Ukraine border, carrying what Russia says are hundreds of tons of aid to civilians in Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine.

    But Ukraine says the goods will only be allowed entry if they are first inspected by the International Red Cross.  For its part, the relief agency said Tuesday it had no direct contact with Russian authorities about the shipments, and it is awaiting information on the convoy's cargo.

    It remained unclear late Tuesday when the convoy would complete its 750-kilometer journey, or what will happen if it is confronted at the border.

    But Kyiv authorities said the Russian trucks could transfer their cargo at the border to trucks leased by the Red Cross, which has described the humanitarian situation in strife-torn eastern Ukraine as dire.

    Valeriy Chaly, deputy head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, said his government is "not considering" allowing the convoy to enter Ukraine. He said the Russian aid would be loaded onto vehicles provided by the ICRC, which will be responsible for coordinating and delivering international aid to eastern Ukraine.

    Ukraine, Chaly added, will "definitely" not permit personnel from Russia's emergency situations ministry or military to accompany the Russian aid deliveries.

    Russian news agency ITAR-TASS quoted a Russian Emergencies Ministry spokesman as saying 2,000 tons of supplies - including baby food, medicine and drinking water - left Moscow early Tuesday for the Ukrainian border.

    Russia insists convoy going through

    Later Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he hoped that public statements made by "some figures" in Kyiv would be "disavowed," and would not interfere with an agreement he said had been reached between Russia, Ukraine and the ICRC. He claimed the Ukrainian side had earlier suggested transferring the Russian aid to trucks provided by the ICRC, but had "abandoned" the idea because it would "complicate" and increase the cost of the operation.

    Lavrov also said Russia was "firmly relying" on reassurances he claimed were given by Ukraine that it would "guarantee the safe movement of the entire convoy through the territory controlled by the Kyiv security forces." The Russian foreign minister said he expected to get similar guarantees from the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

    Earlier in the day, Russia's Foreign Ministry released a statement saying Moscow had "met the wishes" of Kyiv regarding the convoy's route and inspection of its cargo, adding that the two sides had agreed the aid would be delivered through a checkpoint on the border between Russia's Belgorod and Ukraine's Kharkiv regions.

    Russian television reported Tuesday that Moscow's aid mission is being carried out in cooperation with the ICRC.

    ICRC: no agreement

    But the relief agency said Monday no agreement on Russian participation is in place and said in a statement "practical details need to be clarified" before such a mission could move forward.

    On an official Twitter feed, the Red Cross said it had been told by Russian authorities about the aid heading to the border and added “we're not in charge of this convoy at the moment.”

     

    The Red Cross said it needs to clarify details about the delivery, including the type and amount of aid, and that it is working with Russian and Ukrainian authorities on this issue.

    Ukraine blasts Russia on aid to rebels

    Officials in Kyiv said Russia continues to supply rebels in the east.

    Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Danylo Lubkivsky told reporters that Russia can improve the situation in the east by stopping its support of rebel groups.

    “Stop the aggression, stop the Russian terrorists, stop the shelling, stop your cynical propaganda and there will be no need for any humanitarian aid," Lubkivsky said.

    Russia has repeatedly denied that it is aiding the rebels.

    In a phone call Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko agreed that any unapproved Russian intervention in Ukraine would be considered a violation of international law.

    Fight for Donetsk

    Meanwhile, the Ukrainian military said it is closing in on the remaining separatist strongholds of Donetsk and Luhansk.

    Security council spokesman Andriy Lysenko told Reuters news agency that government forces had already cut off Donetsk from neighboring Luhansk, but would move to retake Donetsk first because, in his words, "it is more important."

    Lysenko warned civilians in Donetsk and Luhansk to leave the areas "temporarily"  to avoid the coming assault.

    Early Tuesday, residents of Donetsk combed through the rubble of their belongings and recalled a night of shelling, during a break in fighting.

    Others ventured out to buy food and stand in long queues for cash.

    U.N. agencies said well over 1,000 people have been killed, including government forces, rebels and civilians, in the conflict in which a Malaysian airliner was downed on July 17 with the deaths of all 298 people on board.

    Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ivan from: Minsk
    August 13, 2014 2:12 AM
    Do you know how Putin gained his popularity during first time presidential election? He set a deal with terrorists of Caucasus to blow out multi-stores apartments across the Russia and he promised to stop that once he is president. Pro-Russia separatists shot down Boeing but by mistake. Putin wanted they to shoot down the airliner of Aeroflot,the biggest Russia 's carrier,to declare war against Ukraine and to help his separatists. He is KGB agent. You must know their methods.

    by: david from: Israel
    August 13, 2014 1:36 AM
    Putin is out of control. He is evil
    In Response

    by: Igor from: Russia
    August 13, 2014 11:11 AM
    Russia is NOT Israel's enemy. So you'd better not instigate hatred between our peoples. Russia is not like some useless countries in the Middle East. If you attack us, you will stand NO chance to survive. Please bear in mind that we risked ourselves to protect the Jewish in the WWII, so please do not betray the kindness of the russians only because you are the USA closest ally.

    by: Igor from: Russia
    August 13, 2014 1:00 AM
    Those in Kiev must bear in mind that if they prevent russian humanitarian mission in Estern Ukraine, they will face heavy consequences because by that action they will prove themselves enemy of russian speaking people in Ukraine. To save our fellows in Ukraine we will surely use force against you and no Western nation will dare to intervene to save you.

    by: vc from: Philippines
    August 13, 2014 12:59 AM
    Russian is loosing the war,only a strategy the aid,compare it to trojan horse to win the war
    In Response

    by: Sergey from: Russia
    August 13, 2014 6:37 AM
    it is nonsense...trojan horse?! we don't need it. If we realy wanted to take Uktaine we would do it in 1-2 days without any horses...

    by: tom from: austin tx
    August 12, 2014 2:51 PM
    The ruskies are thumbing their noses at the world and the us in particular. First they instigate and are responsible for all the death and destruction in ukrraine, then pretend to send humanitarian aid.
    In Response

    by: Igor from: Russia
    August 13, 2014 4:55 AM
    Are you meaning our country which put its nose into other affairs such as Vietnam, Korea, The philippines, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lybia, Ukraine....and killed millions of innocent civilians and making a lot of crimes against humanity...Russians are much more human than you are because you have instigated the war in many other parts in this world and letting many other die from hunger by preventing other to offer their help. Your nation is not nice as it seems to be...

    by: R
    August 12, 2014 1:16 PM
    Don't trust Russian government! I am local, I am know.
    In Response

    by: Michael from: S-Pb
    August 13, 2014 2:36 AM
    In Russia there are no people with the name of R. Do not trust him!

    by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
    August 12, 2014 11:43 AM
    There were numerous independent reports about the humanitarian crisis and the dire plight of the residents in the Eastern Ukraine with ruins, no electricity, no food, no drinking water and no medidine. The prowestern government of Poroshenko-Yatsenyuk was in no hurry to alleviate the suffering of their compatriots. Actually, they wished them dead for their speaking Russian, for their sharing Russian culture and their willing to be independent from Kiyv.

    The same maybe said about The Red Cross that showed the same attitude. Now when Russia from its generosity offered humanitarian help to alleviate the suffering, Kyiv and the Red Cross put up all possible obstacles for the aid to reach those in need. Malignant hypocrisy is the banner of their policy. Shame upon the hypocrites of Kyiv and the Red Cross!!!

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