Russian convoy vanishes on road to Ukraine

Uncertainty surrounded a 262-truck “aid convoy” on Wednesday that appeared to grind to a halt before reaching the border

The convoy, which departed from an army base near Moscow on Tuesday, appeared to vanish on Wednesday, adding to confusion surrounding the route and purpose of the cargo.

Last seen in the city of Voronezh, 300 miles south of Moscow, on Tuesday, the convoy never reached the border near the Russian city of Belgorod that the Russian foreign ministry said it would use.

Rumours that the convoy had headed south from Voronezh to cross the border directly into rebel-held territory – a move that would be viewed by Kiev as tantamount to a declaration of war – could not be substantiated.

Russian state television initially reported the convoy to be en route to Belgorod. But journalists waiting at the Pletenivka checkpoint, on the Ukrainian side of the border where Russia had said the convoy would cross, saw no sign of the vehicles.

Guards at the post indicated that the convoy was expected but there was no chance of it arriving. They said they did not know the reason for the hold-up.

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said the convoy was “on the move”, although reporters in Voronezh said it had never been seen leaving the airbase where the lorries spent the night.

In an apparent breakthrough last night, Ukraine said it could allow the Russian aid convoy to cross the border “in order to prevent a large-scale invasion”.

“Our customs officers, border guards and the OSCE [Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe] can scan the goods on the Russian-Ukrainian border,” he added. The convoy would then proceed to rebel-held territory, where the Red Cross would take over distribution of aid in Luhansk, he said.

But with the route and details, or even the existence, of an agreement with the Kremlin unclear, it remains uncertain whether the apparent breakthrough will result in aid reaching residents in Luhansk.

Full article: Russian convoy vanishes on road to Ukraine (The Telegraph)

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