Russia has defended its decision to send humanitarian aid into Ukraine without official permission.
Moscow’s ambassador to the UN said there was no clear chain of command in Kyiv.
The Russians received assurances from the top about accepting the convoy – but nothing happened at the border.
“Some assurances are given (to Russia) at a very high level and then others do not give the orders which are required … by the border police to let the (aid) trucks in,” Vitaly Churkin told reporters in New York.
“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,” Russia’s UN ambassador continued.
Ukraine’s representative called the entry of the Russian convoy a “blatant violation” of his country’s sovereignty which Kyiv would take “all appropriate measures” to protect.
“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,” said Ukraine’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Oleksandr Pavlychenko. “We also are not aware of the content of the agreement of the Russian side with Luhansk insurgents and we do not exclude the possibility of any planned provocation.”
The Russian move has brought widespread condemnation from the West.
The US and the EU said the lorries violated Ukraine’s sovereignty and called for them to be withdrawn.
NATO’s chief said in a statement that the “so-called humanitarian convoy” would only deepen the crisis in the region which Russia had created and continued to fuel.
He added that the events coincided with a major escalation in Russian military involvement in eastern Ukraine since mid-August – plus an “alarming” build-up of Russian ground and air forces near the border.