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article imageOp-Ed: Information about Russian aid convoy to Ukraine conflicting

By Ken Hanly     Aug 13, 2014 in World
Luhansk - A Russian aid convoy for parts of eastern Ukraine that set out from Moscow on Tuesday has still not crossed into Ukraine. The convoy consists of 280 trucks.
Ukrainian army officials claim that there is no deal in place to allow the Russian convoy into Russia and said they would stop it from entering Ukrainian territory. Ukrainian officials insist that any delivery of the aid had to be done by the Red Cross. At the border the aid would need to be unloaded and then transported by Red Cross vehicles to the target areas. Valeriy Chalyy deputy head of the presidential administration said: "We will not allow (the aid) to be accompanied by the Russian ministry for emergency situations or by Russian troops,"
The exact conditions required by the Ukrainians varies according to different sources. One source claims: After earlier vowing to block a massive Russian convoy headed for its borders, Kiev said it could allow the aid to enter the country after it was inspected by Ukrainian border guards and foreign monitors. These requirements are much less onerous than those reported from other sources.
A mediator has said that the convoy will be accompanied by OSCE monitors on the short trip from the border to Luhansk. According to one source the convoy also includes aid from the EU and even the US: The Russian cargo as well as aid from the United States and the European Union would be delivered under the auspices of the International Red Cross and escorted by OSCE representatives through north-eastern Ukraine to the city of Luhansk, former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told Interfax news agency.
On Wednesday the Ukrainian government decided suddenly that it would send in humanitarian aid to Luhansk also according to a spokesperson for Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. The spokesperson said the route of the aid into Luhansk had been approved by the Red Cross. The Russians too insist that they had cleared their mission with the Red Cross. Red Cross officials claim only that Russia had informed them of an aid delivery last week but no specifics had yet been agreed upon. Russian media claim that the trucks contain 1800 tonnes of supplies, that include medical equipment, baby food, sleeping bags, and electrical generators.
There are still border crossings held by rebels. If the Russian convoy is not able to cross at a Ukrainian controlled crossing the convoy could easily cross through the rebel held crossings. The US and Turkey funnel aid into rebel held areas of Syria without seeking approval of the Assad government. However, any such move by Russia would be considered serious aggression meriting a tough response. There is no indication as yet that the Russians intend to do this. The UN Human Rights Agency reports that the death toll from the conflict in the eastern Ukraine is now 2,086 as of last Sunday while on July 26 it was only 1,129. The agency said the figures were conservative. Within a short time the convoy should be at the Ukraine border. It is possible that the convoy is being delayed while final details are being worked out among different parties. While the convoy is in part a propaganda stunt matched by the Ukrainians who are suddenly also interested in providing aid, there is also a real need for the supplies in the affected areas.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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