MOSCOW, August 22 (RIA Novosti) — The Russian Foreign Ministry said that Kiev may be dragging on the process of delivering Russian humanitarian aid to crisis-hit eastern Ukraine until there was no one left to be helped.
“There is a feeling that the current Ukrainian leaders are consciously dragging on the delivery of humanitarian cargo in order to create a situation so that there is no one to be helped. Perhaps they are counting on this type of a result for the planned meeting in Minsk on August 26,” the ministry said on its website.
A Russian humanitarian convoy comprising 280 trucks has been significantly delayed on its way to eastern Ukraine. The trucks are carrying about 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid, including baby food, medicine, grain, sugar, sleeping bags and other necessities. The convoy set off from Moscow Region on August 12 heading toward Ukraine’s conflict areas.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Head of Operations for Europe and Central Asia Laurent Corbaz said Thursday that he regretted that the Ukrainian customs service failed to inspect the Russian humanitarian cargo in a timely fashion, thus delaying the humanitarian mission.
On Thursday, Kiev reiterated that the ICRC had not provided the necessary guarantees for the safe passage of the humanitarian convoy in Ukraine. Andriy Lysenko, Ukraine’s National Security Council spokesman, said that Kiev had not received all the necessary customs clearance documents. At the same time, Moscow confirmed on Wednesday that “all the preparatory work necessary for carrying out this important humanitarian mission has been completed.” The ICRC experts that returned from Luhansk said they had received guarantees for the safe passage of the convoy.
Since mid-April, Ukrainian authorities have been conducting a special military operation against independence supporters in eastern regions of the country. The fighting has involved armored vehicles, heavy artillery and air strikes, and claimed hundreds civilian lives.
On August 26, Minsk is to host a meeting between Ukraine, the European Union, and the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. According to Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s press service, the meeting will address a number of urgent political and economic issues and the stabilization of the situation in eastern Ukraine.