Russia claims to have invited Ukraine, OSCE to check aid convoy
Russia has proposed that representatives of the OSCE and Ukrainian border guards inspect the contents of a Russian humanitarian convoy it plans to send into Ukraine, according to a report from Russian news agency TASS, quoting the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"Russian expects constructive cooperation with its partners from the OSCE and Ukraine in the solution of this important humanitarian problem," the ministry said.
Russian humanitarian convoys in the form of huge columns of white trucks have crossed into Ukraine three times since August, each time without the permission of the Ukrainian authorities, and without being fully inspected by the Ukrainian authorities or being accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross, as Russia had agreed they would be.
The fourth convoy set off from Moscow region on October 28.
As in the previous three cases, the Ukrainian government was not informed about Russia’s intention to send aid into Ukraine. The Ukrainian foreign ministry did however say on October 30 that it had message about Russia’s intention to send its trucks into Ukrainian territory again.
"None of the previous so-called humanitarian convoys were agreed with Ukraine,” spokesman of the National Security and Defense Council Andriy Lysenko said at a press briefing on Thursday.
“None of them reached the Ukrainian people. This aid was partially sold or was used as payment for restoration work carried out on terrorist military equipment.
"So we cannot talk about this humanitarian aid as a proper humanitarian aid."
Lysenko said there had been many reports of the aid convoy trucks actually being used to remove equipment from strategically important Ukrainian factories into Russia, as well as to bring weapons to anti-government insurgents.
When Western journalists were allowed to inspect some of the trucks from the first convoy in August, they found that many of them were half empty. The Russian drivers said this was to ensure there was extra capacity in case truck breakdowns required loads to be redistributed. However, there were no reports of any breakdowns of the trucks as they moved from Russia to Ukraine and back.