Tensions in Ukraine Rise as Russia ‘Invades’
NEW YORK _ INTERNATIONAL NEWS – On Friday the controversial Russian aid convoy travelled into Ukraine despite constant warnings from Ukraine and UN officials. There were over one hundred trucks in the convoy.
Russia claims that the convoy is purely “Humanitarian” but UK and NATO claim otherwise.
In a statement Russian Foreign affairs said; “It appears that Kiev has set out to complete its “cleansing” of Lugansk and Donetsk in time for the 24 August Independence Day celebrations. It seems increasingly credible that the incumbent Ukrainian leadership is deliberately delaying the delivery of the humanitarian relief aid until there is nobody left to deliver this aid to. Quite possibly, they hope to achieve this result prior to the planned 26 August meetings in Minsk.
“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.
“We are once again calling on the Ukrainian leadership, as well as the United States and the European Union, which are exerting their influence on Kiev, to promptly launch negotiations in southeastern Ukraine and start complying with the accords formalised in the 17 April 2014 Geneva Statement by Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the EU on stopping the use of force, mitigating the humanitarian situation and immediately launching nationwide dialogue that would involve all Ukrainian regions”.
NATO Secretary General Anders Rasmussen condemns the Russian convoy stating; “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.”
NATO also states, these developments are even more worrying as they coincide with a major escalation in Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine since mid-August, including the use of Russian forces. In addition, Russian artillery support – both cross-border and from within Ukraine – is being employed against the Ukrainian armed forces. We have also seen transfers of large quantities of advanced weapons, including tanks, armoured personnel carriers, and artillery to separatist groups in Eastern Ukraine. Moreover, NATO is observing an alarming build-up of Russian ground and air forces in the vicinity of Ukraine.
Instead of De-Escalating the situation Russia continues to escalate it, despite the efforts of the international community. This can only lead to Russia’s further isolation.
NATO hopes that Russia not to take further provocative actions, to stop de-stabilising Ukraine and to take genuine steps to resolve this dangerous situation with full respect of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and international law.
US Department of Defense is also not too keen on the convoy’s sudden action.
Defense Department officials are concerned about a Russian convoy crossing into Ukraine, and urge Russian officials to turn the convoy around.
“We strongly condemn this action and any actions that Russian forces take that increase tensions in the region,” Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby told reporters today.
“Russia should not send vehicles, persons or cargo of any kind into Ukraine, whether under the guise of humanitarian convoys or any other pretext, without Kyiv’s express permission,” the admiral said.
Kirby called the convoy a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Russia must recall its vehicles and personnel, he said.
“Failure to do so will result in additional costs and isolation,” the admiral said.
U.S. officials are speaking with officials of the International Red Cross and partner nations on the next steps, Kirby said.
The convoy moving into Ukraine follows a conversation that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu had with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Kirby said. Shoygu assured Hagel “that there would be no military intervention using the pretext of humanitarian relief and, in fact, assured us that there would be no military members as a part of this humanitarian convoy,” the admiral said.
Russia should not be using the guise of a humanitarian convoy to cross the border into Ukraine in a non-authorized way, Kirby said.