The column of the humanitarian convoy from Russia started moving towards Luhansk on Friday, Aug 22. The decision to move the convoy was made at the Russian Foreign Ministry. However, representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said earlier that the trucks could not drive into the territory of Ukraine due to the absence of security guarantees from the Ukrainian authorities. The website of the Russian foreign political department posted a message about Moscow's decision to send the convoy through Ukraine without guarantees from Kiev.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is aware of the decision related to the humanitarian convoy, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said. Kiev officials stated that Russia would now be fully responsible for the security of the convoy. The head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Valentin Nalivaichenko, stated that it was Russia's "direct invasion" of the neighboring country. Spokespeople for Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said that the movement of the convoy was "a violation of principles of international law."
At around noon, Moscow time, the trucks of the Russian humanitarian column entered the territory of Ukraine through border crossing point "Izvarino" and headed towards Luhansk, ITAR-TASS reports. According to Interfax, the column is traveling under the protection of militiamen. According to various reports, the number of trucks that entered the territory of Ukraine varies from 70 to 150. The KamAZ trucks carry such essential goods as food, water and medications.
The journey to Luhansk may take up to two hours. According to vesti.ru, all 280 vehicles of the humanitarian convoy for residents of the Donbass region of Ukraine started moving towards their final destination. Russian customs officers completed all operations connected with the registration of the cargo, representatives of the Southern Customs Administration of Russia said.
Spokespeople for Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said that the crossing of the border by the Russian humanitarian convoy was "a blatant violation of basic principles of international law." However, the diplomatic office stressed out that "in order to prevent provocations, there were all necessary instructions given for the safe passage of the convoy."
"The Russian Federation, ignoring the established international rules, procedures and agreements, without the consent and support of the International Committee of the Red Cross, started the illegal delivery of humanitarian aid into the territory of Ukraine," the Ukrainian ministry said. According to the Foreign Ministry, "neither the Ukrainian side, nor the ICRC are aware of the contents of the trucks."
In turn, a statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry said: "Responsibility for possible consequences of acts of provocations against the humanitarian convoy entirely falls on those, who are willing to continue to sacrifice people's lives for their ambitions and geopolitical designs, defying the rules and principles of international humanitarian law."
According to the Russian diplomatic office, "the situation with endless artificial delays in the solution of the problem of delivery of humanitarian aid has become intolerable." "Our convoy with humanitarian aid begins moving in the direction of Luhansk. It is impossible to further tolerate lawlessness and outright lies. All excuses for delaying the delivery of humanitarian aid to people in the area of the humanitarian catastrophe have been exhausted."
"Of course, we are ready for the support of the ICRC. We hope that representatives of the Russian Red Cross will be able to take part in the action as well," a message from the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
"We repeat that all necessary security guarantees for the passage of the humanitarian convoy have been received. The ICRC has officially recognized the availability of the guarantees. Shipping routes have been provided and verified by the ICRC mission. Documents have been prepared. The cargoes have long been prepared for inspection by Ukrainian border guards and customs officers."
According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, "apparently, Kiev intends to conduct ethnic cleansing of Luhansk and Donetsk prior to the upcoming Independence Day on August 24." Moscow officials believe that Kiev was deliberately delaying the delivery of humanitarian aid, "to come to the point when there is no one left who may need the assistance." It is possible that this is the situation that Ukraine intends to form for the meeting in Minsk on Aug 26, Russian officials believe. It goes about the talks within the scope of the Customs Union-Ukraine summit between presidents of Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Petro Poroshenko.
The Foreign Ministry of Russia warned against any attempts to disrupt the purely humanitarian mission, which had been prepared long ago, in an atmosphere of complete transparency and in cooperation with the Ukrainian side and the ICRC.
On Friday night, despite Moscow's efforts, the UN Security Council failed to approve the statement about the need for ceasefire in the east of Ukraine for the period required for the Russian humanitarian convoy to reach its final destination.
UPDATE: First white KamAZ vehicles have reached the city of Luhansk, the chief of the infroamtion center of "South-Eastenr Front," Konstantin Knyrin said.