MOSCOW, August 22 (RIA Novosti) — Ukraine’s Customs Service accused Russia of violating agreements on the customs clearance of the humanitarian aid convoy shortly after some 60 trucks crossed the Ukrainian border and headed toward the city of Luhansk on Friday.
“The trucks that underwent customs clearance have started moving on the territory of Ukraine while a group of Ukrainian border guards and customs officers was blocked in Russia’s Donetsk checkpoint," Ukraine’s border guard service said in a statement.
“[The convoy] started moving at 11.20 [a.m. local time or 08:20 GMT] without being accompanied by ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] representatives and in breach of the existing agreements about customs clearance of the cargo," the statement reads.
The ongoing attacks in eastern regions of Ukraine have raised concerns from the ICRC that has refused to accompany the convoy despite previous assurances of secure passage.
The ICRC has repeatedly stated that security guarantees from both sides to the Ukrainian conflict were a prerequisite for its representatives to escort the convoy.
Earlier on Friday, Eastern Ukraine independence supporters said they had set up checkpoints and traffic cordons to ensure safe delivery of the aid to Luhansk, while Ukrainian forces continued to shell the area “in breach of all agreements to ensure the safety of the humanitarian convoy."
Russia called for safety to be ensured during the delivery of the humanitarian aid, including ceasefire between the conflicting parties. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Humanitarian Affairs Undersecretary-General and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos on Thursday called for a ceasefire for the delivery of humanitarian aid to residents of Ukraine’s war-torn southeast.