MOSCOW, August 22 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a phone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday that Russia had to act decisively in the situation with the aid convoy in order to prevent further delays in the delivery of humanitarian cargo to the crisis-hit eastern Ukraine.
“Putin stressed that considering Kiev's blatant attempts to hinder the delivery of Russian humanitarian aid to Ukrainian regions caught in humanitarian crisis the Russian leadership has decided to move the truck convoy [across the Ukrainian border],” the Kremlin press service said.
“Further delays would be inadmissible,” the statement said quoting the Russian president.
“Putin has also expressed serious concern over the ongoing large-scale escalation of Kiev’s military operation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions leading to new casualties among the civilian population,” the statement said.
Earlier in the day, at least 60 trucks from the Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid to violence-torn Luhansk and Donetsk regions crossed the border with Ukraine allegedly without clearance by Ukrainian customs officials and without escort provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Moscow said Ukrainian authorities had been holding up for days the delivery of humanitarian aid to the trapped civilians in besieged Luhansk.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said earlier today that Kiev’s dragging on the process of delivering Russian humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine seemed to be an attempt to create a situation when there is no one left to be helped.
ICRC Head of Operations for Europe and Central Asia Laurent Corbaz said Thursday he regretted that the Ukrainian customs service failed to inspect the Russian humanitarian cargo in a timely fashion, thus delaying the humanitarian mission.
The convoy is carrying about 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid, including 400 tons of grain, 100 tons of sugar and 54 tons of medication, along with other cargo. The delivery was organized to address humanitarian concerns in the affected Ukrainian regions.
Laurent Corbaz earlier described the situation in Luhansk as “critical,” adding that thousands of people were reported to be without access to water, electricity and medical aid.