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MOSCOW, December 14 (Itar-Tass) — The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry wants the operation for providing aid to Kosovar Serbs to be ended as soon as possible, director of the ministry’s international activity department Yuri Brazhnikov told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
“We believe that Russian aid will be intensive and fully meet the needs of Kosovar Serbs. We want this operation to be over as soon as possible,” Brazhnikov stressed.
In addition, he said the problem for transit of the Russian truck convoy carrying humanitarian aid to Kosovo has not been solved yet and this violates humanitarian law.
“The problem for allowing transit of the Russian truck convoy with humanitarian aid to be delivered to Kosovar Serbs has not been solved yet. It is still unclear when it is solved. We’ve not received an official response,” the official said.
In the morning no steps have been made yet, he added.
Brazhnikov recalled that on Tuesday, the first column, including 25 trucks, had arrived at the Jarinje checkpoint in order to go farther – to Kosovska-Mitrovica. Three trucks have been checked. Two trucks have been stopped with a reference to a decision of the EU mission. “This is unacceptable for the Russian Federation. On the contrary, this violates the elementary customs rules because truckload shipment is torn between,” he said.
He stressed that Russia wanted “humanitarian right not be violated and necessary aid to be provided to those in need”. The official said Kosovar Serbs needed foodstuffs, cloths, power stations because electric power outages had been reported.
At the same time, Brazhnikov said the ministry had not completed its mission. “Serbia has also asked for medical equipment supplies. This aid will be delivered by air and then by trucks to Kosovo’s Red Cross,” he added.
Russian diplomats do not come in contact with the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) that refuses to let pass the Emergencies Ministry’s convoy carrying humanitarian aid for Kosovar Serbs, Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin said.
“There are no changes in conditions for farther movement of the convoy. No additional contacts with the EU representatives have been reported since yesterday,” the ambassador told journalists at the Jarinje checkpoint.
Kosovska-Mitrovica District Head Radenko Nedeljkovic thanked the Russian Federation, its people and the authorities for humanitarian aid and support rendered to Kosovar Serbs.
He also said Kosovar Serbs would exert maximum effort to help settle the situation at the checkpoint. “We will do our best to allow humanitarian aid be reached the northern part of Kosovska-Mitrovica,” Nedeljkovic stressed.
The second Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid to Kosovar Serbs is now coming to the Romanian-Serbian border, the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry’s press service told Itar-Tass.
“At 2:30 p.m. Moscow time the Russian convoy began moving to the Romanian-Serbian border from the Romanian city of Bistrica,” an official of the ministry said.
The convoy is carrying diesel power stations, heaters, camp-furniture, and household heating devices, bed-clothes and foodstuffs. The total weight reaches 160 tonnes.
However, Russia’s humanitarian convoy remains blocked on the dividing line between Central Serbia and Kosovo.
Since last night the situation has not changed: two out of 25 trucks have crossed the administrative dividing line and got in to Kosovo. The third truck is now at the terminal and the remaining ones are waiting for in Serbia.
Representatives of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry held a video-conference with the ministry’s head, Sergei Shoigu. As it is know the Russian leadership intends to raise this question at the Russia-EU summit currently underway in Brussels.
According to the Russian ambassador to Serbia, the Russian convoy has become subject of political blackmail.
“The EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo fell beyond the scope of its mandate and took up the Kosovo Albanian authorities’ side,” Konuzin told Russian and Serbian journalists.
He noted that the situation had been reported to Moscow and Brussels. “Now the work is doing to find a solution to the problem,” the ambassador said.
In his words, after the two trucks passed through necessary customs formalities at the administrative dividing line between Central Serbia and Kosovo, the procedure was suddenly stopped without explaining any reasons.
According to the ambassador, “the actions were conditioned by political motives.”
On Monday, December 12, a truck convoy of the Russian Emergencies Ministry arrived in Serbia. The convoy has crossed the Romanian-Serbian border. At present, customs formalities are being completed after trucks leaves for the city of Kraljevo. The convoy is expected to arrive in the evening while representatives of the Russian Emergencies Ministry meeting local authorities. Under the coordinated plan, Russians will pass the night at Kraljevo and then they will leave for Kosovska-Mitrovica on Tuesday morning. The cargoes will be handed over to the Serbian Red Cross.
Earlier it was planned that the convoy would arrive in Serbia last Sunday, December 11. But the truck convoy has been delayed by 12 hours.
The convoy departed to Serbia from the 179th rescue centre located in Noginsk, Moscow region, on December 7. It includes 25 cars, which carry 284 tonne humanitarian aid – power stations, cloths, foodstuffs, dishes and field furniture.