Europe

Russian aid convoy prompts suspicion and jokes

Convoy of white trucks Image copyright Reuters

There is outrage among Russian commentators over why an aid convoy sent to Ukraine should give rise to suspicion and criticism. But in Ukraine, many call it a Trojan horse designed to help pro-Russian militants in the east.

Major TV stations in Russia are apparently keen to avoid mentioning any controversy surrounding it. Instead, they focus on its progress towards the border with Ukraine.

There is anger at suspicions expressed by Ukraine and the West.

"The Ukrainian government is against any humanitarian missions because its goal is quite the opposite - to destroy as much infrastructure and local population as possible," political analyst Valeriy Korovin told the Russian government's official daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

Moskovskiy Komsomolets newspaper, meanwhile, accuses the West of irrational behaviour.

"The world's gone mad," it says. "According to the West's logic, anything that Russia does is always 'an act of aggression', regardless of what it really is."

But other commentators were much less supportive of the convoy.

"It is a bit like robbing, stabbing and then sitting down at the victim's bedside in hospital," Anton Orekh says in a blog on the website of independent Ekho Moskvy radio.

"The best kind of aid my country can send to Ukraine is not 280 truckloads of food, clothes and medicines. It's 280 empty trucks to take back all the weapons and people we sent there covertly or overtly."

Trojan horse

In Ukraine, the media are rife with suspicions about what is inside the white trucks that are heading down towards the border from Russia.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Some Twitter users shared photoshopped pictures depicting Russian aid trucks as missile systems

"[There is] enough reason to suspect that Putin's so-called humanitarian convoy is meant to address the problem of ammunition supplies for the gunmen," private ICTV television argues.

Analytical daily Den is equally doubtful. "A Trojan horse from Putin," proclaims its headline.

"On the one hand, Russia sends Grad [missile launchers], other heavy armaments and gunmen to eastern Ukraine, creating a humanitarian catastrophe there. On the other, it is now trying to help resolve it by sending a 'humanitarian convoy'," the article runs.

The paper also hopes that the government in Kiev will stop the trucks from crossing into Ukraine, whatever is inside them.

Dmytro Tymchuk, an authoritative Ukrainian reporter, calls the convoy "an act of provocation", but also argues that it will not help the actual militants involved in the fighting as long as Ukrainian officials check what is being delivered.

Be as it may, "the moral side of the problem remains: given that Russia is the aggressor, it is trying to send 'aid' to victims of its own aggression," Dmytro Tymchuk says.

Others are equally suspicious, but more light-hearted about the convoy. "Soldiers in the convoy have beaten up a driver who lit up a cigarette next to what's supposed to be a crate of condensed milk," jokes journalist Viktor Shkrobot.

In a similar vein, many social media users are sharing photoshopped images of the white Russian trucks, depicting them as Trojan horses or missile systems.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Other Twitter users compared the trucks to Trojan horses

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