of USA Today
The latest news coming out of the tumultuous situation between Russia and Ukraine does not paint a pretty picture.
Ukraine has approved eastern humanitarian relief efforts, but stated in no uncertain terms that they would not allow a convoy comprised of 280 Russian aid-trucks to cross its border due to the fact that it's not been Red-Cross certified. Ukraine is concerned that this relief convoy is simply a cover for a military operation; and who can blame them?
The convoy spans two miles and is allegedly stocked with relief supplies, which, according to USA Today
, includes: "62 tons of baby food, 54 tons of medication, and 12,000 sleeping bags." The convoy departed from Moscow on Tuesday (August 12) with an expected arrival time to Ukraine's borders today.
RIA Novosti has been reporting the situation citing an unnamed source. They are also carrying a photo showing seemingly endless lines of trucks donning white canopies and being blessed by a Priest with some holy water.
On Monday, the Kiev government green-lit a collaborative multinational relief effort with the Red Cross directed toward the rebel hub of Luhansk, where 425,000 Ukrainian citizens dwell near the Russian border. The unrest in this area for the last four months has resulted in the demise of over 1,300 lives.
It has also sent the city of Luhansk into the Dark Ages; the citizens have been without electricity and clean water for nearly three weeks.
A representative for Ukraine's National Security and Defense Council, Andriy Lysenko, is holding firm in his insistence that the convoy will not cross the border:
This convoy is not a certified convoy. It is not certified by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Lysenko has some tricks up his sleeve as well, as he showed a video filmed unbeknownst to the Russians, where trucks similarly decorated were parked at a Russian military base. One scene even featured Russian troops gathered around a truck.
Andre Loersch, the spokesman for Ukrainian Red Cross, said that the protocol for approving relief has not been met with this particular convoy.
At this stage we have no agreement on this, and it looks like the initiative of the Russian Federation.
Valery Chaly, Ukraine Presidential aid, stated that they were being very cautious and that the trucks' contents would be transferred to Red Cross trucks before being allowed to cross the border:
We will not allow any escort by the emergencies ministry of Russia or by the military (onto Ukrainian territory). Everything will be under the control of the Ukrainian side.
As we all know what Putin is capable of, the Ukrainian government is certainly warranted in their diligence, if not their paranoia. Even the French seem to be siding with the Ukrainians. President Francois Hollande discussed this mission directly with Putin himself and emphasized the importance of cooperation and collaboration on the relief efforts.
At this time, we only thing we know is that we don't really know anything. The transfer location has yet to be determined and could take several days before the aid effort is sorted and delivered to its intended location.
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