The fate of the Russian humanitarian cargo sent to Eastern Ukraine remains unpredictable
The so-called “humanitarian convoy” from Russia which is bringing aid to the locals in the East of Ukraine, failed to cross the Russia-Ukraine border on the morning of August 14. At night a column of “KamAZ” trucks stopped on the territory of “Baltimor” airport in Voronezh oblast. The issue of a humanitarian corridor on Ukrainian soil remains open for discussion.
Contradictory information regarding this appeared on Tuesday. Ukrainian Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page that the Russian “humanitarian convoy” would not be let through the territory of Kharkiv oblast. Later, this information appeared on the page belonging to the head of the Kharkiv Oblast State Administration Ihor Baluta. When beginning the session of the Ukrainian government, its head Arseniy Yatseniuk stated that “the level of Russian cynicism knows no bounds”:
“First the supply tanks, GRAD systems, terrorists, bandits, who kill Ukrainians, and then they supply water and salt. Ukraine can only accept any kind of humanitarian aid within the framework of international law and from the Red Cross exclusively.”
Military expert, deputy editor-in-chief of “Daily Journal” Alexandr Goltz thinks that there is no unanimous opinion on the humanitarian aid sent from Russia among the members of the Ukrainian government:
“Some officials say that aid will be accepted and distributed, others claim that the convoy will not be allowed on Ukrainian territory. So whom did Lavrov agree with, that the trucks would receive Ukrainian license plates?”
It is still unclear what is inside the 280 Russian trucks. According to official Russian sources, the trucks contain medicine, various foodstuffs, baby food, sleeping bags and other bare essentials for the civilians. But there is also a threat that the humanitarian cargo might fall in the hands of separatists and that the Russian trucks don’t contain civilian items exclusively. It is very unlikely that weapons may be supplied together with the humanitarian cargo, thinks military expert Alexandr Goltz:
“It is very unlikely that anyone would resort to such a risk in the presence of international organization representatives. Russia was accused many times of supplying weapons in the recent months. If this is the case, then supply channels have been established. And there is no sense in using this “humanitarian convoy,” which is an obvious act of propaganda.
According to Alexandr Goltz, the supply of Russian humanitarian aid to the east of Ukraine might be an attempt to achieve a ceasefire in the conflict zone. This would benefit the separatists:
“It is more or less clear that Russia’ goal in this entire story was to at least show that a humanitarian catastrophe is taking place in the southeast of Ukraine, which nobody wants to pay any attention to. And Russia is the only one to regard this tragedy, who is concerned and ready to help the fraternal Ukrainian people, having forgotten that it has at least something to do with the tragedies that befell the fraternal Ukrainians. There might be a certain military aspect to this whole story. The Ukrainian government aims to end the antiterrorist operation by all means, without regard for either the losses of their own army or civilian casualties. I am doubtful they would succeed this way. Nonetheless, it is clear that armed separatists have ended up in quite a difficult situation. They need time to regroup, prepare for defense of Donetsk and so forth. The arrival of the “convoy” and its migration around the territory under fire, should give reason to some kind of ceasefire by definition. In the end, the separatists are to be given some time to rest.”
Earlier Ukrainian official claimed that the “humanitarian convoy” would cross the Ukrainian border at the Pletnevka checkpoint in Volchansky district of Kharkiv oblast and reloaded into Ukrainian trucks. But the idea was later rejected.
A line of 19 trucks with humanitarian aid for citizens of Luhansk and Donetsk oblast departed from Kyiv.
The departure was controlled by the Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine Maksym Burbak and representative of the President of Ukraine in regulating the situation in the east of the country Iryna Herashchenko.
Similar columns departed on Thursday from Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk. Burbak noted that all measures were employed to provide for the security of the cargo, but as this is humanitarian cargo, no military personnel is involved.
Earlier it was discovered that the Ukrainian government spent an additional 10 million UAH to buy essentials for the population on the territories controlled by terrorists in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
As was reported by the government, the destination of the cargo is the town of Starobilsk in Luhansk oblast. In accordance to international norms, it will be accepted by the International Red Cross Committee, which will distribute this aid.
Source: Radio Liberty
Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina