MOSCOW, August 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russia’s emergency ministry which is in charge of a humanitarian mission to eastern Ukraine said Saturday it was surprised by Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s assumption that convoy trucks had been “half-empty” when they pulled up at the border crossing on the way back to Russia.
“Such allegations are puzzling, to say the least, because all vehicles were checked by border guards and customs officers from both Ukraine and Russia,” Emergency Ministry spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky said.
Drobyshevsky added Western media also had an opportunity to look into the trucks and see for themselves that they were empty on the way back.
Earlier in the day, Russia’s Deputy Emergency Minister Eduard Chizhikov said that a total of 227 trucks took part in the Russian humanitarian operation. All vehicles were searched by representatives of the customs and border control, both on the Ukrainian and Russian side.
“Both sides confirmed that the trucks came back empty,” he said.
On Saturday, Arseniy Yatsenyuk declared that the trucks were half-empty upon returning and the entire humanitarian operation had been nothing but a scam.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian security services chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko also said the convoy consisted of half-empty trucks that could have been used to bring weapons to Ukrainian militia in the southeast and “spirit away” the bodies of fallen Russian mercenaries, according to Associated Press.
As the situation in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions worsened earlier this month, Russia proposed to send a humanitarian convoy under the auspices of the Red Cross to eastern Ukraine. The convoy comprised 227 trucks carrying about 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid that included baby food, medicine, grain, sugar, sleeping bags, generators and other essentials.