Spot report by the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk, 22 August 2014: Russian humanitarian aid trucks departed from the Donetsk Border Crossing Point without ICRC’s escort
This update is for media and the general public.
DONETSK CHECKPOINT, Russian Federation, 22 August 2014 - Today at 12:08 local time the first 34 trucks, which had been inspected during the previous day, started to move and crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border without escort of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Another group of 34 trucks, which had not been inspected, followed and crossed into Ukraine. So far (at 14:20), a total of 134 trucks (out of which 34 inspected) and 12 support vehicles including one ambulance have crossed the border. The ICRC informed the OM that they were not accompanying the convoy.
The OSCE Observer Mission’s (OM) mandate does not encompass verification of cargo or any kind of shipment. Therefore, the OM is not participating in the transfer process of the Russian humanitarian convoy into Ukraine. However, in the framework of its mandate, the OM is reporting on movement and activities through the Donetsk Border Crossing Point and has been following the events tied to the Russian humanitarian convoy closely.
On Friday 15 August the OM facilitated access to the Donetsk Border Crossing Point to ICRC representatives. The representatives met with Russian and Ukrainian border guard and customs authorities and started discussions on the logistics of the verification and transfer of the Russian humanitarian aid convoy.
On Saturday 16 August the head of the ICRC regional delegation for the Russian Federation met with Border Crossing Point officials as well as with Ukrainian officials and further discussed the transfer process. Verification equipment started to arrive to the Border Crossing Point.
On Sunday 17 August sixteen of the 280 Russian humanitarian trucks moved from the Kamensk-Shakhtinsky logistic base to a closed parking lot located 100 metres from the Donetsk Border Crossing Point entrance to start the verification process without delay once all required preconditions would be met. Also, during the day additional equipment arrived to the Border Crossing Point, including a mobile cargo scanning system.
On the morning of Wednesday 20 August at 10:30, the ICRC sent a team from the Donetsk Border Crossing Point to Luhansk to assess the situation on the Ukrainian side. Starting at 20:30, sixteen trucks parked next to the Donetsk BCP moved to the territory of the Donetsk Border Crossing Point for inspection by ICRC teams, Russian and Ukrainian border guards and customs officers.
On Thursday 21 August in the afternoon, more groups of trucks arrived at the Border Crossing Point from Kamensk-Shakhtinsky. At 15:00, sixteen trucks moved into the Border Crossing Point for the verification process under the auspices of the ICRC. The verification process of their shipment was completed for those 32 trucks during the night of 21/22 August. The OM noticed a significant deterioration of the mobile network and a total loss of internet connectivity on the Border Crossing Point site and therefore could not send reports from the Border Crossing Point. Only the GSM network for voice calls remained operational.
On 22 August at 11:45, activity increased around the convoy and at 12:08 the trucks started to leave their parking area and cross into Ukraine. The first 34 trucks had been inspected, another group of 34 trucks, which had not been inspected, followed and crossed into Ukraine. So far (at 14:20), a total of 134 trucks (out of which 34 inspected) and 12 support vehicles including one ambulance have crossed the border.
Throughout the morning, none of the Ukrainian officers were seen in the Border Crossing Point area. Some of the officers were observed in their camp next to the Border Crossing Point. They recorded the departure of the convoy on video cameras.