Ukraine Live Day 286: Uninspected and Unauthorized ‘Humanitarian Convoy’ Crosses the Border

November 30, 2014
"Balloons for fallen victims #Euromaidan" | Stefan Huijboom, @SHuijboom

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Ukraine Says 3 Soldiers Killed, 15 Wounded

The morning briefing from Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council reveals that 3 soldiers were killed, 15 more wounded, and widespread Grad rocket and artillery attacks are reported:
Yesterday we posted a geolocated video showing heavy artillery firing near Donetsk. That report, with video, can be seen here.
New Russian ‘Aid Convoy’ Crosses the Border Into Ukraine

Yesterday, the Russian government’s new English-language propaganda network, Sputnik, spun the news of a new, uninspected, and unauthorized Russian ‘humanitarian’ convoy thusly:

“The convoy is formed, loaded with the humanitarian aid and ready for departure. There are over 100 trucks, which will deliver over 1,200 tons of humanitarian aid to Donbas,” [Russian Emergencies Ministry, Oleg Voronov, said Saturday].

According to Voronov, the aid includes construction materials for restoration of the regions’ destroyed infrastructure, as well as food and other essentials.

On Thursday, the convoy left the city of Noginsk in the Moscow region and headed toward the Rostov region. On Friday, Ukrainian border service stated that it has received information from Russian side on new humanitarian convoy, and said it was ready to process documents.

On Saturday, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry allowed media workers to see what was inside the trucks. Journalists chose different trucks and were able to make sure that they were loaded with the declared cargo.

It’s not clear who these “media workers” or “journalists” were (as of writing this, we’re unaware of any Western or independent journalists who have seen the contents of these trucks), and the report suggests that Ukraine’s border service had been informed of this shipment, but according to the Ukrainian government nothing could be further from the truth. Reuters, for instance, makes no reference to any inspection of the convoy, but reports that the Ukrainian government believes that this aid goes directly to rebel fighters:

“The lion’s share of humanitarian supplies find their way to the rebels partly in the form of food, but mostly it is ammunition, equipment and other things for combat operations,” Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko said in a televised briefing.

The latest delivery of Russian supplies is the eighth since mid-August, Russian news agency RIA cited Russia’s emergency ministry as saying, adding that a total of 9,500 tonnes of mainly food, building materials and medicine had been delivered by the first seven convoys.

Meanwhile, military convoys belonging to the Russian-backed fighters have been spotted by journalists near the ‘humanitarian’ trucks. Kristina Jovanovski, a Canadian freelance journalist, reports:

Jovanovski also reported seeing several military convoys moving in the area, though she reports that the convoy is separate from the aid convoy.
This military convoy was reportedly spotted west of Donetsk, near another town which has been the center of so much fighting.
Regardless of what’s in the trucks, almost everyone agrees that there is significant need for humanitarian aid in areas occupied by the Russian-backed rebels:
The question is whether Russia’s actions are actually making anything better or simply making things much, much worse.