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Russia aid can enter Ukraine with Red Cross role


By LAURA MILLS
Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) - A convoy of 280 Russian trucks reportedly packed with aid headed for eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, but Kiev said it would only allow the goods through under the close supervision of the international Red Cross.

A Ukrainian security spokesman said the convoy of vehicles was being managed by the Russian army and that it could not be allowed into the country.

The humanitarian crisis provoked by fighting between government troops and pro-Russian separatist militants in eastern Ukraine has reached a critical point in recent days and heightened the urgent need for intervention.

But Ukraine and the West have voiced concerns that Russia could use the aid initiative as a cover for sending troops into separatist-held territory.

Russian Convoy Carrying Humanitarian Aid Sets Off for Ukraine

"This convoy is not a certified convoy. It is not certified by the International Committee of the Red Cross," said Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council. "No military structures have the right to escort humanitarian aid convoys, especially into another state."

The government in Ukraine says it is willing for trucks from Russia to unload their contents at the border and for the aid to be transferred to transportation leased by the ICRC.

Officials with the ICRC and Ukraine's government said Tuesday they had no information on what the trucks were carrying or where specifically they were headed.

The Ukrainian government has insisted that aid must cross at a government-held border crossing. At least 100 kilometers (60 miles) of the border is currently in rebel hands.

Valeriy Chaly, the deputy head of Ukraine's presidential administration, said a suitable transfer point could be between Russia's Belgorod region and Ukraine's Kharkiv region, which has been spared the major unrest seen further south.

Chaly said that any attempt to take humanitarian goods into Ukraine without proper authorization would be viewed as an attack on the country.

Alexander Drobyshevsky, a spokesman for Russia's emergency ministry that is conducting the mission, told the AP that his organization had "not yet defined" where the trucks would cross the border. He said it could take several days for them to reach Ukraine.

Ukraine has stressed that the aid effort to alleviate hardship in the conflict-wracked Luhansk province in the east should be seen as an international undertaking. Officials in Kiev have said Russia's involvement in the humanitarian mission is required to ensure cooperation from separatist rebel forces, who have consistently expressed their allegiance to Moscow.

Russian television and news agencies reported Tuesday that 2,000 tons of aid was en route to Ukraine.

Pro-Kremlin television channel NTV showed hundreds of white trucks gathered at a depot outside Moscow, and said they were carrying everything from baby food to sleeping bags. The report showed a Russian Orthodox priest sprinkling holy water on the trucks, some of which bore a red cross, before their departure.

But Lysenko said suspicions have been raised by the military provenance of the trucks in the convoy. In a briefing, he showed a covertly filmed video appearing to show vehicles similar to the white-canopied trucks parked at a military base in Russia.

One frame in the video displayed by Lysenko shows uniformed troops lined up in front of one the trucks.

Andre Loersch, a spokesman for the ICRC mission in Ukraine, said that while the organization had reached a general agreement about delivery of humanitarian aid to the region, he had "no information about the content" of the trucks and did not know where they were headed.

"At this stage we have no agreement on this, and it looks like the initiative of the Russian Federation," he said.

French President Francois Hollande discussed the aid delivery with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying "he emphasized the strong fears evoked by a unilateral Russian mission in Ukrainian territory."

Hollande told Putin Tuesday morning that any mission must be multilateral and have the agreement of the ICRC and Ukraine, according to a statement in Paris.

Some of the heaviest impact on civilians from fighting has been seen in Luhansk - the rebel-held capital of the Luhansk province that had a pre-war population of 420,000. In a status update Tuesday, city authorities said the 250,000 residents remaining had had no electricity or water supplies for 10 days.

"Luhansk is under a de facto blockade: The city continues to be destroyed, and the delivery of foodstuffs, medicine and fuel has been interrupted," the city council said in the statement.

A large portion of the Russian border with Luhansk province is under separatist control.

Throughout the conflict, Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of aiding the rebels with arms and expertise, a charge that the Kremlin has denied.

Related:
Ukraine-Russia Conflict Timeline
Vladimir Putin
Ukraine Protests
Ukraine Election 2014
US Aid for Ukraine
Red Cross

More in the news:
US sees hope for easing Ukraine tensions
Gaza talks to continue in Cairo as truce holds
John Kerry condemns shocking photo of Australian boy holding severed head of Syrian solder
Spokeswoman: Spanish missionary priest who tested positive for Ebola has died

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
vladswim August 12 2014 at 8:46 AM

Why is Ukraine not sending humanitarian help to the cities they are currently shelling? Why is Russia doing this? These fascist scums in Kiev and D.C will pay for the evil they are supporting.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
9 replies
summerchaser August 12 2014 at 8:25 AM

100% behind Ukraine saying keep your crap..... and stay out of our country......

imagine..... Russia has issues......

Flag Reply +7 rate up
vladswim August 12 2014 at 10:41 AM

Americans might not realize this but this conflict in Ukraine is far more important than anything else going on in the world and the irony of this conflict is that its the least thing being talked about on mainstream media.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
3 replies
almazstmp August 12 2014 at 8:23 AM

Kiev is waging war against the people of Eastern Ukraine, not just armed separatists. This humanitarian convoy will undo what they already accomplished.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
5 replies
vladswim August 12 2014 at 9:24 AM

Notice how people are so paranoid and uneducated about Putin and the Russian people, they are willing to believe the lies the main stream video posts everyday no matter how illogical it sounds.
What is the difference between Nazi Germany and current U.S.A? Practically none, both are brainwashed to hate and destroy.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
6 replies
jesuaphn August 12 2014 at 11:19 AM

For the past few decades we have supported causes that later turn on us.....We need to stop getting involved in these regional conflicts and stop taking sides. like someone mentioned before, we have supported in the past Jihadist who then turn on us. Afghanistan is one example when we helped them fight against the Russians...yes at one point we helped the Taliban

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
Roberta jesuaphn August 12 2014 at 12:09 PM

jesuaphn
Other then Reagan leaving Afganistan and ticking of Osama Ben Larden, Not the Talibon. What Jihadist have we supported?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
almazstmp Roberta August 12 2014 at 12:26 PM

Mujahadeen in Afghanistan (google "operation cyclone')
Albanian Militants in Kosovo.
Islamic Militants in Bosnia.
Chechen Islamists during both Chechen wars, right up to Beslan
Islamic Jihadists in Syria, Libya, just a few years ago.

Flag +1 rate up
almazstmp August 12 2014 at 8:25 AM

Remember how we invaded Somalia for humanitarian reasons and we weren't flooded with 750,000 Somalian refugees. Russians have by far more legitimate reasons to end this barbaric assault on people of Eastern Ukraine.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
6 replies
veronica81995 August 12 2014 at 10:15 AM

Ukraine come up with different story all the time first plaine crash now omg they try to kill us.If russian decide to come there they can come with out trucks.They have a power .They try to help but they get trowing out.Never hear ukraine help anybody only what i hear they begging everybody for help and when they getting they try to scam people who help them.They always be like that nothing change from 20 years ago till now

Flag Reply +4 rate up
3 replies
almazstmp August 12 2014 at 10:32 AM

Many here need to be reminded how our government supported Islamic Jihadists over the last three decades from Afghanistan to Syria, so just because our government chose to support Kiev fascists, don't wrap that policy in the American flag.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
vladswim almazstmp August 12 2014 at 10:45 AM

The crazy part is that people still don't understand that ISIS was created by invading Iraq in 03 and supporting the Syrian rebels. Its not rocket science people, you just have to go and read on credible sources in the internet.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
vladswim August 12 2014 at 10:48 AM

My final comment for uneducated Americans, notice how you trolls never actually state facts about this Civil War but rather call people Communists and Putin-agents to those who speak the truth? Better pick up a book and cure your ignorance :)

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
vincentpricehowell vladswim August 12 2014 at 12:06 PM

It's history, chief, history! The US has made many mistakes, but on the whole history has shown, we stand up for human rights. Russia was in WWII, fighting for themselves, not human rights. Look at the Eastern Block countries how they were brutalized after the war, because Russia never left. They absorbed those people, and made them nothing. You haven't demonstrated since WWII, than you even know what human rights are. It's because your a Communist society, that uses it's people, as pawns, to put more wealth, into the government's hands. In other words your history is dark ever since, the jerk Lenin, was there and that's what the world sees.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
christa vincentpricehowell August 12 2014 at 2:51 PM

Thats why General Patton warn the Goverment that we should have beat Russia back to thier own country at the wars end.

Flag +1 rate up
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