Russian Trucks Leaving Ukraine as Merkel Set to Visit

Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) –- Bloomberg’s Hans Nichols reports on the Russian humanitarian aid convoy possibly making deliveries in Ukraine as early as today amid beefed up diplomatic efforts. He speaks to Manus Cranny on “Countdown.” (Source: Bloomberg)

Trucks that sparked international condemnation by crossing into Ukraine yesterday without authorization are returning to Russia as German Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit the battle-torn country.

More than 40 of the almost 300 trucks that carried what Russia says is humanitarian aid have crossed the border empty as of 10 a.m. in Kiev, Serhiy Astakhov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s border service, said by phone today. The U.S. and the European Union joined Ukraine in condemning Russia’s decision to send the convoy, which the government in Kiev called an “invasion.”

Tensions are spiking Ukraine, fractured by fighting that the United Nations says has left at least 2,000 people dead since Russia annexed Crimea in March, saying Russian speakers were threatened. Russia, which Ukraine and its allies blame for stoking the unrest, denies it’s involved in the conflict that has triggered sanctions from the U.S. and Europe.

Related:

“Ukrainians won’t ever be divided by language,” President Petro Poroshenko said today in central Kiev during the nation’s Flag Day celebrations. “We are a peaceful nation, but we are ready to pay with sweat and blood for the right to live under the Ukrainian flag.”

Photographer: Sergei Grits/AP Photo

A Russian border guard opens a gate into the Ukraine for the first trucks heading into the country from the Russian town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia, on Aug. 22, 2014. Close

A Russian border guard opens a gate into the Ukraine for the first trucks heading into... Read More

Close
Open
Photographer: Sergei Grits/AP Photo

A Russian border guard opens a gate into the Ukraine for the first trucks heading into the country from the Russian town of Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia, on Aug. 22, 2014.

MAP: Tracking the Ukrainian Conflict

While Ukrainian should be the country’s only state language, the nation “shall pay respect” to its Russian-speaking members “who protect Ukraine,” he said.

The column of about 280 trucks that reached the city of Luhansk yesterday is a “flagrant violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty” and Russia risks added sanctions if it isn’t removed from the country, White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said yesterday.

Ukraine's Past and Future

In Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in a website statement yesterday that Russia is acting “in complete accordance” with international law by sending its humanitarian aid through rebel-controlled territories in eastern Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s office said in a statement on its website that it gave Ukraine a detailed explanation.

To contact the reporters on this story: Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev at dkrasnolutsk@bloomberg.net; Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net; Anatoly Medetsky in Moscow at amedetsky@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net Randall Hackley

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.