Date
19 November 2017
A Russian convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine drives along a road in the city of Voronezh. Photo: Reuters
A Russian convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine drives along a road in the city of Voronezh. Photo: Reuters

Ukraine races to beat Russian humanitarian aid convoy

Kiev has sent its own convoy of humanitarian relief to Ukraine’s war-torn eastern regions after threatening to block entry to a fleet of Russian trucks carrying aid, in a tussle over aid that risks flaring into a cross-border conflict, the Financial Times reported Thursday.

A spokesperson for Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko said that a humanitarian convoy was already en route to Lugansk.

“Ukraine can’t leave citizens who have become hostages of terrorists in occupied territories,” Sviatoslav Tseholko said.

A Ukrainian official said the convoy’s route had been agreed with the International Committee of the Red Cross. But it was unclear how it would enter Lugansk, a city controlled by pro-Russian rebels.

On Tuesday the hasty dispatch of a disputed Russian aid mission, also destined for Lugansk, triggered suspicions in Kiev and western capitals that it was destined to shore-up separatists in a city surrounded by Ukrainian government forces.

“Maybe [the trucks] are empty, and their drivers are special forces,” said Iryna Hershchenko, an aide to Ukraine’s president.

There is also concern it could spark a clash between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

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RA/JL

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