- POSTED: 22 Aug 2014 16:57
The first 10 trucks of a massive and disputed Russian humanitarian aid convoy crossed the Ukrainian border on Friday (Aug 22) and reached a customs point just inside the war-torn country, an AFP correspondent reported.
DONETSK: The first 10 trucks of a massive and disputed Russian humanitarian aid convoy crossed the Ukrainian border on Friday (Aug 22) and reached a customs point just inside the war-torn country, an AFP correspondent reported.
The white lorries, among nearly 300 held up at the Ukrainian-Russian border for days due to fears in Kiev that the mission would be used by Moscow to smuggle arms to pro-Kremlin insurgents, had reached Ukraine's Izvaryne checkpoint.
Ukraine has expressed repeated fears that Russian may be using the vehicles to smuggle in weapons to pro-Kremlin insurgents who have been battling government forces for more than four months. The ICRC meanwhile said it will not launch the aid delivery mission until it receives firm security assurances from both Kiev and the insurgents that the column will not be attacked.
The Russian foreign ministry appeared to suggest that Moscow has decided to act even without the Red Cross's permission.
"We of course are ready to have (the column) accompanied by the ICRC, and for its involvement in aid distribution," said the ministry. It added that Kiev was presenting a growing number of "new and artificial demands and pretexts, which is turning into a mockery."