Russia sends another ‘aid’ convoy to Donbas
The Russian Emergencies Ministry has sent another large column of trucks into Ukraine that it says is carrying humanitarian aid for Ukraine’s Donbas regions, Russian news agency TASS has reported.
According to the National Center for Emergency Situations Management at Russia’s Emergencies Ministry, the vehicles have arrived at the border and customs clearance procedures have started.
The convoy includes more than 120 vehicles.
Russia said the trucks are carrying more than 1,400 tonnes of humanitarian aid, including food, daily necessities, educational materials for students and pupils, as well as building materials.
The column is the 24th Russia has sent to Ukraine. None of the convoys have crossed into Ukraine with the permission of the government in Kyiv, and their loads have never been fully inspected by Ukrainian officials or by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The convoys always enter Ukraine at border crossing points where armed militants have seized control from the Ukrainian authorities on the Ukrainian side of the border, and they only visits parts of the Donbas where armed gangs are in control.
Ukraine claims the convoys are being used to send arms and supplies to Russian-backed militants in the Donbas, and to return the bodies of dead fighters to Russia.
Russia denies this.
Before sending the convoy, the Rostov-on-Don rescue center of the Russian Emergencies Ministry conducted a planned technical inspection of the vehicles, filling them with fuel and replacing necessary supplies. Drivers were put through additional training on safety and driving in extreme conditions.
"The column includes medical and technical staff to provide timely assistance to drivers and staff accompanying the goods", the National Center for Emergency Situations Management said.