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Russia aid convoy's movement violates previous agreements -- EU Commission
The European Union criticized Russia on Friday for violating the integrity of Ukraine's state border as the first 100 trucks crossed into Ukraine and started heading for Luhansk without authorization from Kiev.
The European Commission is urging Russia to review its unilateral decision on the aid convoy because relief aid could only be shipped and delivered under international supervision.
The EU foreign policy service has also expressed its regret over Russia's unilateral action to dispatch the relief convoy to the Ukrainian territory unaccompanied by the ICRC and urged Russia to change its decision.
This is an obvious violation of the Ukrainian border which is violating the previous agreements reached by Ukraine, Russia and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Sebastian Brabant, a spokesperson for the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Service.
Earlier on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that part of the Russian trucks with relief aid had crossed into Ukraine and started moving towards Luhansk.
The Ministry added that all security guarantees for the passage of relief convoy had been received. "The ICRC officially admitted their receipt. All delivery routes are well known, and the ICRC mission has checked all of them. All the paperwork has been finished. The cargo is ready for inspection by Ukrainian border guards and customs officers who have been staying at the Donetsk border post in the Rostov region for a week," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"All this is well known in those European capitals that keep demonstrating increased concern with the situation in southeast Ukraine," the Russian Foreign Ministry went on to say.
"The invention of new excuses (during the cargo's clearance at the Ukrainian customs) starts looking like a mockery. It is no longer possible to continue tolerating this scandalous situation, open lies and inability to reach any kind of agreement," the Russian Foreign Ministry said, adding the Ukrainian side had run out of excuses for dragging the delivery of relief aid to the war-weary population in southeast Ukraine.
"The Russian side decided to act. Our relief convoy starts heading for Luhansk. Naturally, the ICRC employees are ready to escort the convoy and participate in the distribution of the relief aid. We hope that representatives of the Russian Red Cross will also be able to take part in this action," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Early in August, Russia suggested that the UN Security Council send an international mission with Russian relief aid to eastern Ukraine in view of the desperate humanitarian situation in the region.
About 270 trucks with almost 2,000 tonnes of food, water, baby food and medical products left the Moscow region on August 12.
[Source: Itar Tass, Brussels, 22Aug14]
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