First trucks from aid convoy to Ukraine cross back into Russia
Saturday, August 23, 2014 - 01:52
Part of Russian convoy returns after igniting a storm of anger in Western capitals a day earlier by driving into Ukraine without the permission of the government in Kiev. Sarah Toms reports.
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The first trucks from a Russian aid convoy start crossing back into Russia from Ukraine.
Snaking along the highway, they're at the centre of an international crisis.
Without permission from Kiev around 100 trucks drove through an abandoned border post and into the rebel-controlled east.
Russia said the trucks were carrying desperately-needed supplies of tinned food and water. But the Ukrainian government feared the convoy could be part of a military invasion.
Here they can be seen unloading supplies in Luhansk, which is controlled by pro-Russian separatist fighters.
This city is circled by government troops and has been cut off from power and water.
But for days these trucks were held up by arguments by Kiev and Moscow.
Eventually, Russia said it had run out of patience.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS, VITALY CHURKIN, SAYING:
"We started moving only when we received official note from the Ukrainian government saying that they were ready to accept this aid and this is a major, major operation and people are in need. So to be played around like this, we could not put up with this so we moved ahead and we hope that the humanitarian assistance is going to be properly distributed."
The Ukrainian government although angry said it would not shoot at the vehicles.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) OLEKSANDR PAVLICHENKO, DEPUTY AMBASSADOR OF UKRAINE TO THE UNITED NATIONS, SAYING:
"We are deeply concerned with the unilateral actions of the Russian Federation over the delivery of the humanitarian convoy in the East of Ukraine. We take it as a blatant violation of the sovereignty of Ukraine international law. We think those actions of the Russian Federation cannot be justified from the perspective of urgency of delivery of humanitarian assistance to the east of Ukraine either."
Ukraine accuses Russia of supporting and arming the rebels.
The arrival of these trucks ignited international outrage and it can only be hoped that their departure will do something to help ease the tension.
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