A convoy of 280 Russian trucks packed with aid began heading towards eastern Ukraine earlier today, however, the Ukrainian government said that it would not allow the mission to cross the border because it isn’t being coordinated by the international Red Cross and could be a covert Russian military operation.
The neutral Red Cross agency clarified that it had no information on what the trucks were carrying or where they were headed. This has made Ukraine and its allies in the West concerned that Russia could potentially use the initiative as a pretext for sending its troops into territory that is held by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine.
Television and news agencies in Russia reported that over 2,000 tons of aid was being sent to Ukraine, where fighting between the Ukrainian government’s forces and pro-Russian separatists has, according to a United Nations reports, claimed the lives of more than 1,300 people since the fighting began earlier this year.
NYV television showed hundreds of white trucks gathering at a depot outside of Russia’s capital, and claimed that the trucks were carrying everything from baby food to sleeping bags. A Russian Orthodox priest was seen sprinkling holy water on the trucks, some of which were decorated with a red cross, before the convoy departed.
However, a spokesman for the National Security and Defense Council in Ukraine, Andriy Lysenko, said that the Ukrainian government would not allow the convoy to cross the border. “This convoy is not a certified convoy. It is not certified by the International Committee of the Red Cross,” Lysenko said, speaking through a translator.
Read more about the story at The Guardian.