Aid convoy to move in direction of Lugansk at Moscow’s decision, says Russian Foreign Ministry

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

(Interfax – August 22, 2014) Russia’s Ukraine-bound humanitarian aid convoy is starting to move in the direction of the city of Lugansk, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement posted on its website.

“Continuing to put forth new artificial demands and excuses has already become derisive. It is impossible to put up with this mayhem, blatant lies and this unwillingness to agree any longer. All excuses delaying the delivery of aid to people in the humanitarian catastrophe area have been exhausted. The Russian side has decided to begin acting. Our convoy with humanitarian cargo is starting to move in the direction of Lugansk,” the ministry said.

“We have advised all sides against making any attempts to disrupt this purely humanitarian mission, which has been prepared for a long period of time amid full transparency and in cooperation with the Ukrainian side and the ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross]. Responsibility for all possible consequences of provocations against the humanitarian convoy will rest entirely with those who are prepared to continue to sacrifice human fates for the sake of their ambitions and geopolitical plots, grossly violating the norms and principles of international humanitarian law,” the Russian ministry said.

Moscow agreed to ICRC employees accompanying the aid convoy and “participating in the distribution of the aid,” it said.

“Hopefully, representatives of the Russian Red Cross Society will be able to contribute to this mission as well,” it said.

“We reiterate that all the required security guarantees for the humanitarian convoy have been given. The ICRC has officially recognized the existence of such guarantees. All delivery routes are known to the ICRC and have been inspected by it. All documents have been provided. The cargo has long been ready for checks by Ukrainian border guards and customs officers. They have been parked near the Donetsk checkpoint in the Rostov region for a week. The capitals that are constantly demonstrating “heightened concern” over the situation in southeastern Ukraine are aware of that,” the Russian ministry said.

“We once again call on the Ukrainian leadership and the U.S. and the European Union, which are exerting their influence [on Kyiv], to immediately start negotiations concerning the situation in the southeast of Ukraine and start to implement the agreements outlined in the April 17, 2014 Geneva statement of Russia, Ukraine, the U.S. and the EU, which called for an end to the army operation, as well as measures to the improve the humanitarian situation and urgently launch a national dialogue involving all regions of Ukraine,” it said.