Original: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Translated from Russian by Gleb Bazov
Edited by S. Naylor
Statement of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Connection with the Attempts to Derail the Delivery of Humanitarian Aid to Those Suffering from Hostilities in the Southeastern Region of Ukraine
The attempts to create new and greater obstacles in the way of the delivery of Russian humanitarian aid to the civilian population of Donbass cause deep concern. The implementation of this mission has entered its final stage. In discussions with the representatives of the Ukrainian authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross (“ICRC”), we were able to reconcile practically all the key parameters of the transfer to the intended recipients of food, medicine and other essentials.
At the same time, there are forces that intend not simply to deprive the population of the Southeast of Ukraine of this assistance – which is of urgent, immediate necessity – but also to perpetrate open provocations likely to further complicate the situation in the conflict zone. Whereas, if earlier the humanitarian mission was obstructed through flimsy claims of organization and procedural difficulties, we are now receiving information about direct threats of the use of force against our convoy. Reports are coming in that a saboteur group of the «Aidar» punitive battalion is planning to mine certain sections of the roads in the Lugansk region with the intention of destroying the vehicles carrying the humanitarian cargo and the attending personnel; and then to accuse the Militia of these terrorist acts.
We also draw your attention to the sharp intensification of combat operations by the Ukrainian military, which pursues the obvious objective of cutting off the route – agreed-upon with Kiev – of the humanitarian column from the Russian-Ukrainian border to Lugansk.
One gets the impression that in Ukraine and beyond its borders there are still many who wish to derail the humanitarian mission, even at the cost of new victims and destruction. Those who harbor such criminal plans take upon themselves the enormous responsibility for their consequences. The Russian side is firmly committed to the speediest and most comprehensive performance of the agreements arrived at with the leadership of Ukraine and the ICRC with respect to the delivery of humanitarian aid to residents of Donbass. We are taking all the precautions we can to ensure the safety of this mission. We call on both sides to immediately announce a ceasefire for the duration of its implementation in accordance with the norms of international humanitarian law. We are counting on the active support of the efforts being undertaken by the ICRC, the OSCE and the UN.
August 15, 2014