Russian aid convoy arrives at Ukraine border

A convoy of an estimated 260 trucks transporting humanitarian aid from Russia to Ukraine has arrived at the border, where its cargo is being inspected by personnel from the International Committee of the Red Cross before it can be distributed to embattled Luhansk.
By JC Finley Follow @JC_Finley Contact the Author   |   Aug. 15, 2014 at 10:05 AM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Aug. 15 (UPI) -- A convoy of more than 200 Russian trucks Moscow says contains humanitarian aid for embattled eastern Ukraine arrived Thursday at the Ukrainian border, where International Committee of the Red Cross personnel were verifying the cargo's contents on Friday.

Red Cross personnel met the Russian convoy at the Russian checkpoint in Donetsk and were unloading the contents on Friday. It comes as part of the agreement that the Red Cross would accept deliveries of aid at the border, process the aid through customs checkpoints and re-load the supplies onto other vehicles.

"A third of the trucks have been unloaded. The Red Cross begins to accept the cargo consistent with the manifest and to fulfill its schedule of the relief transfer," Red Cross envoy for Ukraine, Iryna Heraschenko, wrote on Facebook Friday.

Border guards and customs officers will process the humanitarian delivery once they receive verification documents from the Red Cross regarding the contents of the cargo. National Security and Defense Council spokesman Andriy Lysenko said Friday that the necessary manifest documents had not yet been supplied.

"They are ready to start clearing the cargo, the working places have been prepared. However, our representatives have not received any documents from the International Committee of the Red Cross about the cargo. Once these papers are received, the border guards and customs officers will start the clearance of the goods."

Representatives from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are also present to oversee the transfer.

The delivery of Russian aid has been met with concern and skepticism because it was dispatched from Moscow on August 12 without the necessary approvals from the Ukrainian government or coordination with the Red Cross, which is overseeing international humanitarian relief efforts.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government confirmed that a Russian military convoy of 20 armored vehicles and army trucks reportedly crossed into Ukraine on Thursday, transporting military supplies to pro-Russian rebels in Luhansk.

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