The Ukrainian authorities will not let the Russian convoy of humanitarian cargo cross the border and enter the territory of the country, if it is accompanied by the Russian military or representatives of the Ministry of Emergency Situations.
This was said by deputy head of the Presidential Administration of Ukraine Valery Chaly. According to Chaly, the humanitarian aid from Moscow will be delivered to the Ukrainian border, customs-cleared and reloaded on vehicles of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), under the auspices of which the mission is being conducted.
Chaly said that the Ukrainian branch of the ICRC was responsible for the delivery of the humanitarian aid. In addition, Red Cross staff from Geneva will also arrive to help, reports Interfax. According to the official, the Ukrainian side undertakes to ensure the safe of the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian territory.
Official spokespeople for Red Cross stated that they were not responsible for the delivery of the Russian humanitarian cargo to Ukraine. "We've been told by Russian authorities that an aid convoy is heading to Ukraine border. We're not in charge of this convoy at the moment," representatives of the organization tweeted on their official Twitter account.
Meanwhile, Valery Chaly stressed out that this was an international humanitarian mission that Ukraine initiated. At the same time, he acknowledged that Western leaders recommended Kiev should accept the help from Russia. "I will be frank: there is a common sentiment, a piece of advice for us - to take such a step. And we can not ignore the trust that has developed between the partners in the recent years, including on the highest political level. There is such a recommendation there, we considered it and adopted the political decision," he said.
Chaly also said that the Ukrainian administration had "no idea what kind of cargo the Russian Federation was delivering." Earlier, Western and Kiev officials expressed suspicions that Russia could use the humanitarian mission as a cover for the invasion of Ukraine and ensure its military presence there.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Russia was sending a convoy of 280 KamAZ trucks with about two thousand tons of humanitarian aid: food, including 400 tons of cereals, 100 tons of sugar, 62 tons of baby food, 54 tons of medical equipment and medicines, 12,000 sleeping bags and 69 power plants of various capacities.
An official representative for the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation, Alexander Drobyshevsky, told reporters that the destination point to deliver the humanitarian cargo to residents of the south-east of Ukraine would be determined in conjunction with representatives of the ICRC and the Ukrainian side. The three-kilometer-long convoy is to arrive to the border on Wednesday.
Russia previously sent official requests to humanitarian agencies of the UN, OSCE, the Council of Europe and the ICRC calling for an international humanitarian mission to Ukraine. On Tuesday, the Russian Federation offered to send an international humanitarian mission to the east of Ukraine under the auspices and accompanied by representatives of the ICRC. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Kiev agreed for the provision of humanitarian assistance.
Europe which is panic-stricken over the consequences of rising energy and food prices could strike a treacherous blow to Ukraine this winter, writes Simon Tisdall for The Guardian.