Article by: Alya Shandra
On September 20, Russian media reported that a convoy of about 200 trucks arrived to Donetsk, crossing the border with Ukraine in the Matveyev Kurgan border crossing point. The cargo allegedly contains “food, generators, medicine, warm clothes, drinking bottled water for residents of South-Eastern Ukraine.” The reports claim that representatives of the Ukrainian customs and the Red Cross were invited to inspect the convoy, but that they refused without explaining. Earlier, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said that they do not see the point in participating in preparations for the third Russian humanitarian convoy for residents of south-east Ukraine.
Meanwhile, advisor to Interior Minister Zorian Shkiryak, has stated that the third Russian “humanitarian convoy” came to Donetsk empty. “It differs from the other convoys by the unprecedented amount of military protection from the Russian Federation; representatives of the self-proclaimed “DNR” and “LNR” were not admitted to the convoy,” said Shkiriak, as reported by Interfax-Ukraine. Meanwhile, today
On September 18, Interfax-RU reported that the third humanitarian convoy was ready to depart for Luhansk, and not Donetsk, from Kamensk-Shakhtinskiy in Russia’s Rostov Oblast, stating that Russian journalists had checked the contents of the cargo. When the decision was made to change the route and deliver the aid to Luhansk instead of Donetsk is not clear.
— marqs (@MarQs__) September 20, 2014
The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine does not know anything about the contents of the third “humanitarian convoy” which crossed the border of Ukraine on September 20, as stated by deputy head of the National Security Council media center Volodymyr Poliovyi.
He noted that there are neither Ukrainian customs officers or border guards at the border crossing point where the convoy entered Ukraine, and the Russian side, in violation of international law and Ukraine’s sovereignty, determines the content of goods that enter Ukraine.
“We know nothing about the contents of the cargo from Russia. Officially, we have no information about it,” added Poliovyi. He noted that Russia “informed the Ukrainian side that a shipment will arrive,” but this informing is not an agreement and does not provide for the procedures to examine and inspect the cargo, and does not provide for ICRC representatives to take part in this procedure.
This is the third time that Russia sends “humanitarian aid” to Ukraine by force. Previously, the Russian convoy entered Ukraine’s territory without permission on the night of September 13. The lorries came and left the territory of Donbas without the consent and inspection of the Ukrainian government and the Red Cross and delivered the cargo to Luhansk. The European Union had condemned these actions, calling them illegal and those that violate Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty. This convoy made a stop in Krasnodon, during which, according to head of NGO Prava Sprava Dmytro Sniehyriov it could have unloaded weapons at a local factory.
Before that, Russia sent the first “humanitarian convoy” of about 300 trucks to Ukraine on August 22 without completing customs control from the Ukrainian border guards and OSCE observers and without accompaniment by ICRC representatives. The following day, the National Security Council of Ukraine reported that the trucks had carried off equipment from Ukrainian defense industry plants.