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News Analysis: Russian humanitarian aid heading to Ukraine, doubts remain

English.news.cn   2014-08-13 01:37:35

MOSCOW, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- As a 280-truck convoy roared out of an Emergency Situations Ministry's base in the Moscow region on Tuesday, Russia officially delivered its first batch of humanitarian aid to Ukraine amid uncertainties and speculations.

The convoy, which contained about 2,000 tons of relief supplies including food, medication, sleeping bags and electricity generators, will travel for several days to reach its destinations in southeastern regions of Ukraine.

However, local experts said questions remain around the humanitarian aid agreed by Moscow, Kiev and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).


Conflicts took place along the delivery route, which some report said includes some border checkpoints in Russia's southwest Rostov region and its adjacent area in Ukraine. Some reports also said that Ukraine will receive the aid through Belgorod-Kharkov corridor.

The difference was obvious -- via the former route the aid would go directly to zones mainly controlled by pro-independence militias, while the latter avoid such trouble.

"The way the aid will be distributed is highly important," former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma told Interfax news agency.

"First and foremost, it should be provided to hospitals, kindergartens, orphanages and other people who need it. The militants must not receive even a gram," he said.

Meanwhile, Andrei Suzdaltsev, deputy dean of the Moscow-based High School of Economics, said "the cargo must avoid both being confiscated by the Ukrainian authorities and being looted by uncontrolled insurgents once crossing the border."

"None of those possibilities could be completely ruled out," he told Xinhua, citing the downed Malaysian flight MH17 as an example of how the conflicting sides blamed each other for the tragedy.


Beyond the fate of the aid itself, some experts went on predicting the future of Moscow-Kiev ties.

Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of Moscow's The National Defense magazine, said the fact that the two countries agreed over the humanitarian cargo delivery did not mean their relations were getting warmer.

"Kiev has to preserve face and also refute (Russian Foreign Minister Sergei) Lavrov's recent statement that the so-called anti-terror operation by Ukrainian troops in the eastern regions is a sort of ethnic cleansing," he told Xinhua.

Ukrainian authorities "are afraid of possible epidemic outbreak ... with infections among both restive and loyal populations" given the critical humanitarian situation in those regions, he said.

The United Nations has estimated earlier that nearly 118,000 people are currently registered as internally displaced persons in Ukraine, with 87 percent of them from the country's east. Besides, more than 168,000 Ukrainians have flown into Russia, while figures released by Moscow were much higher.

Anatoly Adamishin, a veteran Russian diplomat, said whether the delivery will warm Russia-Ukraine relations "completely depends on Kiev."

"If Kiev show its good will, Moscow will welcome that," he said, adding that Ukrainian authorities have so far been reluctant to extend the willingness.

The most important thing for now is to make the aid available to those in desperate need, and no one should pursue political gains from it, experts said.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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