NATO chief condemns Russian aid convoy entry into Ukraine
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen Friday condemned the entry of a Russian humanitarian convoy into Ukrainian territory without Kiev's consent and without involvement of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Rasmussen criticised the move a "breach of Russia's international commitments," including those made recently in Berlin and Geneva, Xinhua reported.
The NATO chief said the disregard of international humanitarian principles raises further questions about the purpose of Russia's aid convoy.
Ukrainian security chief Friday accused Moscow of launching a "direct invasion" after a convoy of more than 30 Russian aid trucks crossed the border into Ukraine without Kiev's permission.
In Moscow, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement Friday that Russia was ready for ICRC employees' participation in accompanying the convoy and its further distribution.
But, the ICRC said in a post on Twitter later that its representatives were not escorting the convoy due to the volatile security situation in the area.
The convoy was headed towards the Luhansk region in the southeastern Ukraine, it said.
The presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine, and EU foreign affairs Chief Catherine Ashton will gather in Minsk Tuesday to explore ways to end the crisis.
Russia Aug 12 dispatched the convoy of white-painted Kamaz trucks with humanitarian supplies.
The Russian authorities said the humanitarian cargo included 400 tonnes of grain, 100 tonnes of sugar, 62 tonnes of baby food, 54 tonnes of medicines and medical items, 12,000 sleeping bags and 69 mobile power generators.
The convoy reached Russia's southern Rostov region Aug 17 and until Thursday was idling near the border waiting for permission to enter Ukraine.
The week-long delay in the delivery of the humanitarian cargo was condemned Thursday by the Russian foreign ministry, which said in a statement that such a situation was intolerable.
(Posted on 23-08-2014)