Great news: Russian “aid” coming to eastern Ukraine

posted at 10:41 am on August 12, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming — to eastern Ukraine, or at least their humanitarian aid is on its way. Ukraine and the West objected when Russia first proposed to send hundreds of trucks across the border into Luhansk and other combat zones during a momentary pause in the fighting. Russian television showed the fleet of shiny, white, and innocuous-looking trucks being loaded with food and other goods while diplomats fought over what Moscow’s true intentions are with this move.

What exactly are the words to “Convoy” in Russian anyway, tovarisch?

Earlier today, Ukraine refused to allow any of the trucks to enter, worried about a Russian pretext for war. Later, though, Ukrainian officials agreed to the transmission of aid — but only under strict conditions, which the Russians have not yet met:

A convoy of 280 Russian trucks reportedly packed with aid headed for eastern Ukraine on Tuesday, but Kiev said it would only allow the goods through under the close supervision of the international Red Cross.

A Ukrainian security spokesman said the convoy of vehicles was being managed by the Russian army and that it could not be allowed into the country.

The humanitarian crisis provoked by fighting between government troops and pro-Russian separatist militants in eastern Ukraine has reached a critical point in recent days and heightened the urgent need for intervention.

But Ukraine and the West have voiced concerns that Russia could use the aid initiative as a cover for sending troops into separatist-held territory.

“This convoy is not a certified convoy. It is not certified by the International Committee of the Red Cross,” said Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. “No military structures have the right to escort humanitarian aid convoys, especially into another state.”

The Red Cross has no idea what’s in the trucks. Russia did not involve them in the project, and the ICRC did not have the opportunity to inspect the cargo holds of the vehicles. Ukraine, which also insists that the aid has to come through a border checkpoint controlled by Kyiv — preferably as far away from the fighting as possible — said any attempt to bring the vehicles into Ukraine without government approval would be considered an attack:

“This cargo will be reloaded onto other transport vehicles (at the border) by the Red Cross,” Ukrainian presidential aide Valery Chaly said.

“We will not allow any escort by the emergencies ministry of Russia or by the military (onto Ukrainian territory). Everything will be under the control of the Ukrainian side,” he told journalists. …

The U.S., French and Australian governments voiced concern that Russia, sole international supporter of rebels in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east, could use the humanitarian deliveries to carry out a covert operation to help fighters who appear to be on the verge of defeat.

With Ukraine reporting Russia has massed 45,000 troops on its border, NATO said on Monday that there was a “high probability” Moscow might now intervene militarily in Ukraine.

The Washington Post editorial board urged the Obama administration and the EU to have another set of sanctions at the ready if Vladimir Putin’s convoy breaches the Ukrainian border:

RUSSIA AGAIN appeared on the verge of invading Ukraine over the weekend, this time in the guise of a “humanitarian operation.” President Obama and other Western leaders sounded the alarm, warning that the prospective intervention “is unacceptable, violates international law and will provoke additional consequences,” as a White House statement put it. For his part, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko agreed to a non-military relief operation under the auspices of the Red Cross that would allow for Russia’s participation.

Whether that would be enough to deter Russian ruler Vladi­mir Putin wasn’t clear on Monday. According to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, tens of thousands of Russian troops remained poised on Ukraine’s border; he said “there is a high probability” of invasion. Though a vacationing President Obama is already overseeing U.S. air strikes in Iraq, the United States and its allies must be prepared to act quickly if Russian military forces cross the frontier. …

Mr. Poroshenko is still offering a peace plan that involves a cease-fire and political dialogue on the condition that Ukraine’s border is sealed to further infiltrations of Russian weapons and fighters. That could perhaps provide a face-saving exit for Mr. Putin, but it’s one Moscow is unlikely to embrace unless its proxy forces are on the verge of defeat. That’s why the Ukrainian military operation should continue with Western support, including fresh aid for the army, and why the United States and its allies should do everything possible to deter Mr. Putin’s “humanitarian” invasion. What “additional consequences” can Moscow expect if it crosses the line? A robust package should be readied and telegraphed to the Kremlin.

The convoy doesn’t even have to include military supplies to produce the kind of provocation Putin has clearly desired for months. They can set themselves up as “observers” once inside Ukraine and block Kyiv from further military action against the rebels. If the Ukrainian military does proceed, then Putin can send in his troops in order to protect his “humanitarian” mission.

Whatever happens, it’s going to happen quickly. The West had better be prepared to shut Russia down economically when it does — and it would be best to “telegraph” that intention to Putin now, as the WaPo’s editors advise, in order to avoid the situation altogether. If Putin wants to donate aid, let him work through the Red Cross. Anything else is a thinly-veiled provocation for a European war that only the Russian media would miss.


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Better look past the first row of boxes in the back of the trucks. You may be surprised to see what is behind them.

Deano1952 on August 12, 2014 at 10:45 AM

This is being completely misread. Putin sent those trucks knowing they would be stopped. It was to get that very picture for Russian TV. If Ukraine was smart they would have inspected the trucks and allowed them through. Now the ethnic Russians in the Ukraine can say the Ukraines are blocking aid to them.

Rocks on August 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM

One of the most important things in war is logistics. Food and supplies are war materiel.

Fenris on August 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM

No worries, the trucks contain 50 troops each holding a cookie.

Just kidding, I’m sure the crates are full of food and water and not Ak-47′s, ammo, RPG’s or other stuff.

I mean Putin is a humanitarian you can just tell.

HumpBot Salvation on August 12, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Trojan Horse…

PatriotRider on August 12, 2014 at 10:50 AM

Where is NATO’s “aid” convoy???…

PatriotRider on August 12, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Operation: Trojan Horse – See they won’t understand what it means.

Oil Can on August 12, 2014 at 10:51 AM

The West had better be prepared to shut Russia down economically when it does — and it would be best to “telegraph” that intention to Putin now, as the WaPo’s editors advise, in order to avoid the situation altogether.

That is impossible, Not. Going. To. Happen.

Europe is not going to do anything to provoke Putin into cutting off their energy supplies even temporarily. Imagine the chaos of just a few days without power.

Johnnyreb on August 12, 2014 at 10:52 AM

I’m not concerned. We have Team SMART Power!!!!1111!!!1elebinty and they are NOT doing stupid $hit. Obama and his merry band of idiots are already coming up with hashtags to fight Putin and have several weapons grade sternly written letters ans speeches ready for immediate deployment.

This one is in the bag for King Barky. After all Putin is just that kid in the back of the class…

jukin3 on August 12, 2014 at 10:55 AM

as the WaPo’s editors advise

The wisest choice is to do the OPPOSITE of what any leftist newspaper’s editors advise. Those people are a reverse barometer for decisions.

jukin3 on August 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Rocks on August 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM

I think it might be somewhat more devious than that: if Russia pushes ahead and simply goes into Ukraine, making sure that it is indeed simply humanitarian foodstuffs, and the Ukrainian military reacts violently, they then have pretense for an offensive.

Ebola on August 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

The West had better be prepared to shut Russia down economically when it does — and it would be best to “telegraph” that intention to Putin now, as the WaPo’s editors advise, in order to avoid the situation altogether. If Putin wants to donate aid, let him work through the Red Cross. Anything else is a thinly-veiled provocation for a European war that only the Russian media would miss.

The West, of course, meaning “somebody else”. What are Americans prepared to give up to “shut down Russia economically”?

PBH on August 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

jukin3 on August 12, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Are you saying they’re under pressured?

Sorry, couldn’t resist. :P

Ebola on August 12, 2014 at 11:03 AM

One of these “uninspected” trucks goes boom and Ukraine is being invaded by Russia.

Defenestratus on August 12, 2014 at 11:06 AM

The West, of course, meaning “somebody else”. What are Americans prepared to give up to “shut down Russia economically”?

PBH on August 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

The sad part is we wouldn’t have to “give up” anything. Start cranking out the oil and natural gas, and everybody wins (except Russia). Of course, that’s not going to happen.

Fenris on August 12, 2014 at 11:08 AM

Strong horse.

butch on August 12, 2014 at 11:11 AM

♫ Putin’s got “flex-i-bility”…♫

(apologies to Lloyd Price)

viking01 on August 12, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Btw this humanitarian convoy departs from Alabanovo, Moscow Region. Unclear, I know. Let me translate this into the American reality:

A totally peaceful humanitarian convoy departs from Fayetteville, NC.

PBH on August 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Wow, sending aid to Ukraine is bad, who knew? I mean, it’s an invasion of sovereignty, right? It’s meddling. It’s provocative. It’s a prelude to war!

Aid is bad!

Joseph K on August 12, 2014 at 11:17 AM

105 or 120mm?

formwiz on August 12, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Ukraine needs to either cede a sliver of land to these ethnic Russians or send them on a walk of tears toward Russia. Otherwise they’ll always have strife in that region They’ll ask for more land and then maybe agree to U.N. sponsored arbitration. Include Crimea deal in that. The U.N. doesn’t seem very assertive when it doesn’t involve the US or Israel.

Buddahpundit on August 12, 2014 at 11:19 AM

Best hope it doesn’t rain and wash off the white paint revealing military cammo, eh comrade?

worldtvlr on August 12, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Ukraine and the West objected when Russia first proposed to send hundreds of trucks across the border into Luhansk and other combat zones during a momentary pause in the fighting.

Fly it in. That’s worked well so far./

And nevermind that the boxes marked baby formula look mysteriously like the size and shape box that holds an RPG.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Though a vacationing President Obama is already overseeing U.S. air strikes in Iraq, the United States and its allies must be prepared to act quickly if Russian military forces cross the frontier. …

Does anybody really think the filthy lazy stupid rat-eared bastard is “overseeing” U.S. air strikes? That would include determining further action based on BDA and other factors that would involve Obama being engaged. DOES ANYBODY SERIOUSLY WANT TO MAKE THE CASE THAT SNUGGLES IS ENGAGED IN THE OPERATIONS HE WON’T EVEN NAME?

Those golf balls don’t hit themselves you know and this is the royal vacation not some trip where work should get in the way of bike rides with the brats, italian ices, golf, and fundraising.

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2014 at 11:47 AM

They have these rather large but somewhat portable X-ray machines down Nogales way that scan the contents of an entier tractor-trailer truck in about 2 minutes. You can see darn near everything that is inside that trailer in a matter of minutes.

As they say in high stakes poker. If you don’t know who the mark is, your it.
Too bad we are led by the stupidest ‘poker players’ on the planet or they would have had this passive remedy ready to go, … yesterday.

Missilengr on August 12, 2014 at 11:50 AM

The “Putin Airlift” ?

viking01 on August 12, 2014 at 12:02 PM

BTW- this is how Obama “oversees” U.S. Air Strikes:

During a fundraiser on Martha’s Vineyard on Monday, President Obama told the guests all about his afternoon on a nearby beach — which included playing with some seals.

“I found, as somebody from Hawaii, the water is still a little cold,” he said as the crowd laughed, although he acknowledged that the weather was nice.

And let’s be clear here, when he talks about playing with some seals he means the animal and not the Navy kind. But it begs the question why was he late to make that statement last evening if all he was doing was frolicking with some seals and bitching about the water temp?

Happy Nomad on August 12, 2014 at 12:09 PM

obama diet

Schadenfreude on August 12, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Wow, sending aid to Ukraine is bad, who knew? I mean, it’s an invasion of sovereignty, right? It’s meddling. It’s provocative. It’s a prelude to war!

Aid is bad!

Joseph K on August 12, 2014 at 11:17 AM

Aid to WHO? …is the key question nobody is asking.

My first assumption after hearing that Ukraine has the pro-Russian militants surrounded was that the aid convoys would be supplying the MILITANTS, which would be an invasion of sovereignty, meddling and provocative!

Aid is bad, right? Or perhaps this is a warfare logistics move to resupply the armed insurrection. Ask yourself… why do the convoys need to be escorted, and why are they not allowed to inspect the contents.

dominigan on August 12, 2014 at 1:23 PM

This article seems to combine the worst elements of the Boy Who Cried Wolf and Doctor Strangelove.

VorDaj on August 12, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Slava!

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 12, 2014 at 3:22 PM

The West had better be prepared to shut Russia down economically when it does

And you are confident such an act wouldn’t cause World War III?

VorDaj on August 12, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Ukraine needs to either cede a sliver of land to these ethnic Russians or send them on a walk of tears toward Russia. Otherwise they’ll always have strife in that region They’ll ask for more land and then maybe agree to U.N. sponsored arbitration. Include Crimea deal in that. The U.N. doesn’t seem very assertive when it doesn’t involve the US or Israel.

Buddahpundit on August 12, 2014 at 11:19 AM

The original mistake made was not sending ethnic Russians home when the Soviet Union fell apart. When WWI and II ended, large-scale relocations of citizens took place in Eastern Europe to match the redrawn borders.

Ukraine and other countries like Poland and the Baltics should have done the same in 1992. This failure could end up bringing another war to Europe.

slickwillie2001 on August 12, 2014 at 4:10 PM

US Military Deploys Team of Troops to Ukraine

About a dozen American troops from U.S. European Command on Tuesday arrived in Ukraine to help recover remains and investigate the downing of the Malaysian airliner that killed all 298 passengers aboard, officials said.

“They will not leave Kiev,” Kirby said of the U.S. troops who specialize in recoveries and analysis at crash sites. “Recovery operations are something, tragically and unfortunately, the U.S. military has to do and has to be good at.”

“We are at a crucial point in history,” Rasmussen said. “As we remember the devastation of World War I, our peace and security are once again being tested, now by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. And the criminal downing of Flight MH17 has made clear that a conflict in one part of Europe can have tragic consequences around the world.”
NATO officials said that Russia now has about 20,000 troops massed on the border of Ukraine. At the Pentagon, Kirby would not put a figure on the buildup but said it was “north of 10,000. They are very capable and very ready,” he said.
http://www.military.com/daily-news/2014/08/06/us-military-deploys-team-of-troops-to-ukraine.html?ESRC=navy.nl

Patriot Vet on August 12, 2014 at 5:53 PM