BRUSSELS, August 23. /ITAR-TASS/. NATO is utterly indifferent to the disastrous humanitarian situation in the southeast of Ukraine and it shows no interest in a prompt settlement of the crisis, Russia’s permanent representative at NATO, Aleksandr Grushko has told ITAR-TASS.
“There can be just one conclusion. The alliance is completely indifferent to the humanitarian situation in the southeast of the country and by no means interested in an early settlement of the crisis,” he said. “On the contrary, connivance with the Kiev authorities’ criminal suppression of their own people is continuing. It is an absurdity theatre. This is the sole way of assessing statements to this effect by NATO’s Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
“Just imagine,” Grushko said. “NATO‘s secretary-general accuses Russia of sending humanitarian aid to the population of Ukraine’s south-eastern regions. He claims that the humanitarian convoy carrying food and medicines to civilians who are in appalling conditions is a provocation aimed at destabilizing Ukraine.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier declared the decision to take action. Part of the truck convoy carrying humanitarian aid crossed the Ukrainian border and started moving towards Lugansk.
“We are saying again that all the necessary guarantees of the convoy’s safe passage had been given,” the Foreign Ministry said. “The International Committee of the Red Cross has officially recognized the existence of such guarantees. The routes are long-known and have been checked by the ICRC mission. The documents have been formalized. The cargoes are long ready for inspection by Ukrainian border guards and customs, which have been at the Donetsk checkpoint, in the Rostov Region for a week now.”
“This is well-known in the capitals that keep expressing great concerns over the situation in Ukraine’s south-east,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “Ever more artificial demands and excuses have become a mockery.”
“It is no longer possible to tolerate this outrage, flagrant lies and inability to observe negotiated agreements. All excuses for delaying the delivery of aid to people in the area of the humanitarian disaster have been exhausted. The Russian side has made a decision to act. Our humanitarian convoy starts moving towards Lugansk.”
“Naturally, we are prepared to let IRCR personnel escort it and participate in the distribution of aid,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “We hope that ICRC staff will be able to participate in that operation.”
In view of the grave humanitarian situation in the east of Ukraine Russia early this month addressed the UN Security Council with a proposal to dispatch an international mission with Russian humanitarian aid. On August 12, 270 trucks carrying nearly 2,000 tonnes of food, water, baby foods and medical supplies left the Moscow Region for Ukraine.