Russia Blocks Aid Convoy in Ukraine
A Red Cross convoy sought to drive urgently needed relief supplies to the besieged Mariupol. But the vehicles had to turn back. The circumstances had made it “impossible” to reach the city.
On Friday, an aid convoy from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) failed to reach Mariupol in southern Ukraine. Circumstances made it impossible for the three-vehicle convoy to get to the heavily contested Ukrainian port city, which Russian soldiers surrounded, the ICRC said. We hope to try again on Saturday. The vehicles returned to Zaporizhia, about 220 kilometres away. In order for the convoy to get through, it is very important that all warring parties stick to agreements and give the necessary security guarantees, the ICRC said.
Many people tried again on Friday to get to Zaporizhia via privately organized convoys from Mariupol. Forty-two buses with a total of 3,000 people tried to leave the city, said a volunteer in Zaporizhia. “We don’t know when they will arrive. It depends on the checkpoints.”
“We can no longer find adjectives to describe the horror suffered by the residents of Mariupol,” said ICRC spokesman Ewan Watson. “The situation is appalling and worsening.”
Several attempts to bring the civilians trapped in Mariupol to safety have failed in the past few weeks. According to Ukrainian information, at least 5,000 people have died in the city since the beginning of the war. Around 160,000 civilians are said to be stuck in the largely destroyed city. The humanitarian situation there is devastating. People have little access to water, food and electricity.