Ukraine had been delaying the “humanitarian” mission and was insisting that the convoy would be accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). However, earlier today Russia’s Foreign Ministry in a statement sad that it would no longer tolerate “delays” and other “excuses” from Ukraine. It also accused the Ukraine of stalling until “there was nobody left to help” in the Luhansk region.

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There is little doubt that this could be viewed as an escalation with the potential for serious problems. If Ukraine fires on the convoy, or if Russia was to claim they were fired on, it could lead to an all out invasion by tens of thousands of troops massed on the border.

“Direct Invasion” by Russia of Ukraine

Valentyn Nalivaychenko told journalists in Kiev, “We consider this a direct invasion by Russia of Ukraine,”according to Reuters. Despite this he said that it wouldn’t fire on the trucks in order to avoid “provocations.”

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the border crossing a “flagrant violation of international law.” And suggested that not bringing observers from the ICRC a withdraw by Russia from the ICRC.

“We underline that responsibility for the secure movement of Russian trucks through territory that is not under control of Ukrainian armed forces is the responsibility of the Russian Federation,” Ukrainian military spokesman Andriy Lysenko told a briefing in Kiev today.

It could certainly be argued that Russia is directly responsible for the necessity of  this humanitarian effort after lending support to separatists.

“The Ukrainian side suggested holding negotiations between the leadership of the general staffs of Ukraine and the Russian Federation, but the Russian side refused,” said Lysenko referring to the border crossing.

Russia hits back at delays, lies

“Continuing to tolerate such chaos, outright lies and the inability to agree any longer is impossible. All excuses delaying the delivery of aid to people in the humanitarian catastrophe area have been exhausted,” the Russian government said in a statement Friday. “The Russian side has decided to act. Our convoy with humanitarian cargo is beginning to move in the direction of Luhansk.”

And they are doing it all by themselves. “At the present time, those trucks are not being escorted by us,” said ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson. “Our team in Luhansk reported heavy shelling overnight. This morning we were not convinced we had received the sufficient security guarantees from the relevant authorities.”
While it’s certainly important to get aid to the region, it’s a bit frighten to think of what could come next.