“The Council of Europe follows the situation with concern,” Daniel Holtgen tells The Ukrainian Week in his telephone comment.
“We appeal to both sides to find an agreement which respects Ukraine’s territorial integrity and international law, and, at the same time, takes into account the urgent need for humanitarian aid in the region,” he adds.
According to the statement on this by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “On August 22, Russia began to smuggle humanitarian aid to Ukraine, ignoring established international rules, procedures, and agreements reached, without the consent and accompaniment of the International Committee of the Red Cross.”
RELATED ARTICLE: Between Munich-2 and the Truman Doctrine
Even though the border and customs control services of Ukraine started clearing the Russian convoy, this morning Ukrainian officials had been blocked by Russian forces and prevented from finishing inspecting the remaining vehicles of the convoy, despite previous agreements and having been invited to Russian territory by the Russian side, the statement reads. We are worried about the safety of our employees. Moreover, so far neither the Ukrainian side nor the ICRC knows about the content of the abovementioned vehicles, which causes particular concern, it adds.
According to more reports, Ukrainian border and customs officers cleared 34 trucks with Russian humanitarian aid. Later reports surfaced that another 90 unchecked trucks were moving to Ukraine from the Russian Federation. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry reported that neither Ukraine nor the ICRC know what is inside the trucks.
Meanwhile, the State Border Service reports that over 100 trucks have crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border. The cargo carried by the trucks is unknown.