Russian Humanitarian Aid Reaches Lugansk
by Stephen Lendman
Kiev putschists blocked vitally needed humanitarian aid for days. They did so for spurious reasons.
They did it to impose greater hardships on desperate Southeastern Ukrainians. They did it to deprive them of essentials to life.
They did it to facilitate their genocidal aggression. They did it with full support and encouragement from Washington.
Enough is enough. On August 22, Itar Tass headlined “Russia’s 70 trucks with humanitarian cargo proceed toward toward Ukraine’s Luhansk,” saying:
They cleared customs. They entered Ukrainian territory. They headed for Lugansk. They did so on a mission of mercy.
They carried food, water, medical supplies and other vitally needed aid. Kiev claims about a Trojan Horse convoy of weapons were spurious on their face.
It used this and other fabricated reasons to block aid as long as possible. It’s response on the ground is unclear. It bears watching to see what follows.
On August 12, Russia dispatched a 270-truck convoy. It carried hundreds of tons of vitally needed aid.
On August 17, it reached Russia’s southern Rostov region. It borders Ukraine. Kiev blocked it for days.
One excuse followed others. They rang hollow. Russia’s Foreign Ministry was scathing. It issued a long statement, saying in part:
“The endless delays hampering the initial deliveries of the Russian humanitarian relief aid to southeastern Ukraine have become intolerable.”
“A lorry convoy with many hundreds of tonnes of humanitarian relief aid, urgently needed by the people in these regions, has been standing idle for a week now on the Russian-Ukrainian border.”
“Over this period, the Russian side has made unprecedented efforts in all areas and at all levels in order to complete the required formalities.”
“We have met all conceivable and inconceivable demands of the Ukrainian side and have submitted to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) exhaustive lists of food, drinking water, medications, essential items and diesel generators due to be delivered to Lugansk, where they are urgently needed by women, children and the elderly.”
“These people are experiencing the horrors of daily artillery attacks and air strikes that have resulted in an increasing number of killed and wounded and destroyed the entire vital infrastructure in the area.”
“Time and again, we met requests to check and recheck the shipment route, to coordinate procedures for the shipment’s delivery, and have signed the required documents with the ICRC.”
“We have provided all essential security guarantees and have ensured similar guarantees on the part of the self-defense forces.”
“These guarantees apply to the Russian convoy as well as other humanitarian relief aid being sent to Lugansk by the Kiev authorities.”
“At the same time, Kiev has delayed granting its formal consent required by the ICRC for several days, while repeatedly inventing new pretexts and stepping up attacks on Lugansk and Donetsk that involve military aircraft and heavy-duty armored vehicles, targeting residential areas and other civilian facilities.”
“Over the past few days, the Ukrainian side has been launching ballistic missiles, including the deadly Tochka-U missiles, ever more frequently.”
Deadlock may or may not be resolved. The latter is more likely. Kiev granted unconditional consent during a phone conversation between its foreign minister and Russia’s.
“On 20 August, customs clearance and border control procedures were launched at the Donetsk checkpoint,” said Russia’s Foreign Ministry.
“On 21 August, however, this process was stopped, with officials citing much more intensive bombardment of Lugansk.”
“In other words, the Ukrainian authorities are bombing the destination and are using this as a pretext to stop the delivery of humanitarian relief aid.”
Kiev appears committed to “cleansing” Lugansk and Donetsk ahead of its August Independence Day commemoration.
It wants time for more mass slaughter and destruction. It wants vitally needed aid delayed as long as possible.
Ideally it wants it blocked. “Russia is outraged by the blatant external manipulation of the international experts involved in preparing this operation,” its Foreign Ministry said.
“An endless succession of contradictory and mutually exclusive signals and messages we have been receiving is a true indication of behind the scenes games for purposes that have nothing to do with accomplishing a set humanitarian objective.”
“Those who are holding the reins and hampering efforts to save human lives, to mitigate the suffering of sick and wounded people neglect the basic principles of society.”
“We have called on the UN Security Council to promptly declare a humanitarian armistice, but these proposals are being invariably blocked by those who pay lip service to universal human values.”
Russia left no doubt which countries it means. Washington bears full responsibility. Britain and France share it.
Rogue states operate this way. They partner in crimes of war and against humanity. They support their illegitimate neo-Nazi-infested fascist Kiev ally.
“Last time, this happened on 20 August, when the United States and some Western members of the UNSC declined to issue a statement in support of a ceasefire during the delivery of humanitarian relief aid to Lugansk by Russian and Ukrainian convoys,” said Russia’s Foreign Ministry
“We hereby state once again: All the required security guarantees regarding the passage of the humanitarian convoy have been provided.”
“The ICRC has officially recognised these guarantees. The delivery routes are known, and they have been checked by an ICRC mission.”
“The documents have been drawn up. The shipments have long been ready for inspection by Ukrainian border guards and customs officers who have been waiting at the Donetsk checkpoint in the Rostov Region for a week now.”
“The capitals that display heightened concern for the situation in southeastern Ukraine are well aware of this. The endless artificial demands and pretexts have become unconscionable.”
“It is no longer possible to tolerate this lawlessness, outright lies and inability to reach agreements.”
“All pretexts for delaying the delivery of aid to people in the humanitarian disaster zone have been depleted.”
“The Russian side has decided to act. Our humanitarian relief convoy is setting out towards Lugansk.”
“Naturally, we are ready to allow ICRC officials to escort the convoy and to take part in distributing aid.”
“We hope that representatives of the Russian Red Cross Society will also be able to take part in this mission.”
“We are warning against any attempts to thwart this purely humanitarian mission which took a long time to prepare in conditions of complete transparency and cooperation with the Ukrainian side and the ICRC.”
“Those who are ready to continue sacrificing human lives to their own ambitions and geopolitical designs and who are rudely trampling on the norms and principles of international humanitarian law will assume complete responsibility for the possible consequences of provocations against the humanitarian relief convoy.”
ICRC representatives chose not to accompany the convoy. According to the organization’s Galina Balzamova:
“That’s because of the problems with security. Lugansk was shelled all night long.”
“We believe we did not get sufficient guarantees of safety from all the parties to the conflict to start escorting the convoy.”
Russian Red Cross head Raisa Lukutova supports Moscow’s decision. It’s the right one, she said. “For how long do we have to put up with this mockery?”
Kiev “put(s) forward one demand after another. All of them unrealistic.” Obstruct, delay and deny reflects its agenda.
Rogue states operate this way. The ICRC violated its own mandate “to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.”
Not in Southeastern Ukraine. Not when doing so conflicts with Washington’s interests. They matter more than relieving human suffering.
At the same time, ICRC officials admit Southeastern Ukrainians are in “urgent need for essentials like food and medical supplies.”
Lugansk conditions are especially dire. Residents have no water or electricity.
Medical supplies are running out. Food is in short supply. Constant shelling and bombing endanger everyone. Non-combatant civilians suffer most.
Ukraine’s intelligence chief Valentyn Nalivaychenko lied calling Russia’s convoy a “direct invasion.”
He lied again saying:
“Under the cynical cover of the Red Cross, these are military vehicles wih documents to cover them up.”
Ukraine’s border service (UBS) said by ordering the convoy to proceed, Moscow “ignored the agreements reached on registering the humanitarian aid.”
FALSE: Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers agreed on granting it entry. Kiev violated its own agreement.
Its UBS added:
“The trucks started moving through Ukraine after a group of Ukrainian border customs officers had been blocked at the Russian checkpoint ‘Donetsk.’ “
Kiev’s foreign ministry lied. It ludicrously accused Moscow of “smuggling humanitarian aid to Ukraine.”
“To avoid provocations, we have given all the necessary orders to let the convoy pass safely.”
Russia’s Foreign Ministry accused Ukraine of “exhaust(ing)” all remaining “excuses” for blocking what’s urgently needed.
They deliberately obstructed humanitarian aid to assure “they’ll be no one left to get it.”
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Moscow-supplied humanitarian aid fully complies with international laws and norms.
“We are not going to put up anymore with the distressful situation of people living in protesting southeastern regions of Ukraine,” he added.
Vladimir Putin was unequivocal. He called further obstruction unacceptable.
Illegitimate oligarch Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko lied saying:
“The movement of the Russian humanitarian convoy into Ukrainian territory without customs and border control and without being accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross is a blatant violation of international law.”
“We will do everything we can to ensure this does not lead to more dramatic consequences.”
Sebastien Brabant is spokesman for EU political chief Catherine Ashton. He falsely accused Moscow of breaching “previous arrangements reached between Ukraine, Russia and the ICRC.”
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is a convenient US stooge. He lied saying:
“I condemn the entry of a Russian so-called humanitarian convoy into Ukrainian territory without the consent of the Ukrainian authorities and without any involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross.”
“This is a blatant breach of Russia’s international commitments, including those made recently in Berlin and Geneva, and a further violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty by Russia.”
“It can only deepen the crisis in the region, which Russia itself has created and has continued to fuel. The disregard of international humanitarian principles raises further questions about whether the true purpose of the aid convoy is to support civilians or to resupply armed separatists.”
European supreme allied commander General Philip Breedlove commented as expected. He condemned “Russia’s illegal incursion” despite Moscow having violated no international laws.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby outrageously accused Russia of “a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
“Russia must remove its vehicles and its personnel from the territory of Ukraine immediately,” he said.
“The humanitarian situation in (Southeaster) Ukraine must be addressed, but not in a spurious manner that risks inflaming the conflict,” he added.
Western media reports spuriously accused Russia of shelling Kiev forces from its own territory and inside Ukraine.
They regurgitated official lies. They provided no corroborating evidence. Washington and rogue EU partners repeatedly accuse Russia of aiding Southeastern Ukrainian freedom fighters.
Moscow categorically denies all charges. It’s going all-out for diplomatic conflict resolution. It rejects military solutions. It deplores all forms of belligerence.
It complies fully with international laws, norms and standards. Washington bears full responsibility for violating them.
Rogue EU partners share it. So does Kiev. Its forces are US proxies against its own freedom-fighting democrats.
They deserve universal support. So does Moscow for supplying essentials to life.
Russia’s aid convoy arrived safely in Lugansk. City officials confirmed it. A special commission will distribute vital aid.
It remains to be seen what follows. Russia-bashing began straightaway. Desperate Southeastern Ukrainians are grateful.
They need all the help they can get and then some. Moscow did the right thing.
It shames its Western counterparts. It’s on the right side of history.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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