Russia to join humanitarian relief effort in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko confirmed Monday that Russia will be part of an international humanitarian relief effort in eastern Ukraine that will be led by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
By JC Finley  |  Aug. 11, 2014 at 4:07 PM
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KIEV, Ukraine, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko acknowledged Monday that Russia will be part of an international humanitarian mission to embattled eastern Ukraine.

The International Committee of the Red Cross will oversee the collective relief effort that also involves Germany, the U.S. and the European Union.

Ukraine's decision to involve Russia appears to be an attempt to rein in a proposal made a week earlier by Russia to deploy a convoy of Russian peacekeepers into eastern Ukraine.

At a U.N. Security Council meeting on August 5, Oleksandr Pavlichenko, Ukraine's ambassador, urged Russia instead "to stop sending mercenaries and weapons, to establish effective control over its part of border to prevent the infiltration of armed groups, and to stop provoking unrest," noting that "The sooner those steps were taken, the sooner the situation would stabilize."

Similarly, NATO had voiced concern that a Russian-led humanitarian mission could be used as "an excuse to send troops into eastern Ukraine," further destabilizing the country.

During a phone call Monday between Poroshenko and U.S. President Barack Obama, the two discussed the ICRC-led plans to deliver aid to eastern Ukraine, agreeing that any unilateral action by Russia to intervene without the Ukrainian government's authorization "would be unacceptable and a violation of international law."

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