Ukraine's senior leadership is worried that Russia won't rest until Kiev is no longer the capital city of Ukraine. It has every right to, especially since a convoy of more than 200 trucks recently crossed into Ukraine from the Russian side.
About 215 vehicles, all allegedly carrying humanitarian aid to a battered Ukrainian city, rolled into the country on Saturday without any authorization from Kiev, reported RT. So far, senior leadership has remained mum.
Yury Stepanov, a Russian who was overseeing the convoy, explained, "Early in the morning, we entered Ukraine to bring aid to Luhansk. We came in around 215 vehicles."
Russia assures that the boxes being unloaded into a local warehouse contain much-needed aid. But it has arrived amidst fighting that flared again between pro-Russian rebels and government forces, further imperiling an already-fragile cease-fire in the region. Moreover, on Saturday, Ukraine's military operation in the east said it had successfully repelled a rebel attack on the government-held airport of Donetsk.
The airport came under artillery fire from rebel positions late on Friday, and the Ukrainian military personnel effectively offered retaliatory fire, reported Mashable. Continuous rocket fire could be heard overnight in Donetsk, and some of the shelling even ended up on residential buildings near the airport, said a statement on the city council website. However, the statement confirmed that there were no casualties.
The Russian trucks slowly lumbered into Luhansk, one of the worst-hit cities, where tens of thousands have been without water, electricity, or phone connections for weeks. The Russian drivers calmly proceeded to unload the contents into local warehouses and faced no opposition.
Group leader Stepanov said the goods consisted mainly of foodstuffs -- rice, sugar, and canned fish and beef -- but also included medicine, technical equipment, and clothes. Inside the warehouse, Associated Press journalist witnessed water bottles carrying the logo of Russia's LDPR party, led by virulent nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.Stepanov stated that his men were only responsible for the delivery. The local distribution, he said, will be handled by "local authorities." He must be referring to the separatist leaders of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic.
Gennady Tsepkalo, a senior separatist official, confirmed that retirees, hospital patients, and schoolchildren would be first priorities for receiving the aid. He even clarified that the food would not be used to feed rebel fighters.
"The militia will feed itself separately. This is for the residents of the Luhansk People's Republic."
The Ukraine-Russian crises have been simmering for some time now. While Russia claims that it is strictly helping the troubled civilians, multiple reports indicate there's more to it than meets the eye.
[Image Credit | AP]