Ukraine Liveblog Day 208: Second Russian ‘Humanitarian Convoy’ Crosses Into Ukraine

September 13, 2014
Russian 'humanitarian convoy' enters Ukraine at the Izvarino checkpoint 13 September 2014. Photo by Dmitry Rogulin/ITAR-TASS

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Ukraine Says It Repelled Attack Against Donetsk Airport

In yet another breach of the ceasefire, Ukraine says that it has repelled an attack against Donetsk airport. RFE/RL reports:

Renewed fighting has flared up near Donetsk, despite a eight-day cease-fire between pro-Russian separatists and government forces in eastern Ukraine. 

The Ukrainian military said its forces had repelled an attack on the airport of Donetsk. 

The city of Donetsk is controlled by the separatists, but the airport is controlled by government forces. 

Second Russian ‘Humanitarian Convoy’ Crosses Into Ukraine

The first 70 trucks from the second Russian “humanitarian convoy” have cleared customs and crossed into Ukrainian territory this morning,  ITAR-TASS reported.

Last night 30 trucks drove into the checkpoint and were processed in the Ukrainian checkpoint, so reports began to appear that the convoy was on the move.  The first convoy last month went into Ukraine without permission from Ukrainian authorities, causing the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, which maintains monitors at the border, to condemn such transport without consent.

This time, it appears that the trucks are being inspected and cleared, but as before, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which has been portrayed by the Russian Foreign Ministry and state media as cooperating with the convoy, had to disassociate itself.

Anatasia Isyuk, press secretary of the ICRC, told ITAR-TASS:

“The ICRC was never officially informed about the agreement between Russian and Ukraine about the achievement of the technical concessions regarding the convoy. Consequently, the ICRC is not activated to provide help in the delivery of the cargos.”

Earlier, the ICRC had said that it would cooperate with the convoy if its “methods of work” were observed. This means “impartial distribution of humanitarian aid on the basis exclusively of existing needs.”

ICRC also requires a guarantee of their employees’ security.

The last time Russia ran a humanitarian convoy into Ukraine, there was a great deal of controversy not only because it entered without permission, but because it was prepared by the military on army bases; state TV claimed the ICRC was endorsing the convoy when it was not; and the trucks were reported by Western journalists as empty or half empty in many cases.

But most of all, the humanitarian trucks seemed to be a decoy for a military convoy entering at another border crossing, and the purpose appears to be to validate a Russian military presence in Ukraine.

With the second convoy, too, the Ukrainian government has reported Russian military forces rotating troops with separatist proxies and preparing armored vehicles by the border. The Guardian has confirmed military vehicles deep within Ukraine with the “peace-keeping” (MS) symbol.

And while state press reports claim the convoy is managed by the Russian Emergencies Ministry (EMERCON), the ministry’s web site contains no mention of the convoy to Ukraine.

Then there are reports of explosions in Donetsk, and incoming and outgoing rocket fire.