Ukraine Blocks Russian Convoy: Aid, Propaganda Or Worse?

Hundreds of trucks are headed to Ukraine from Russia, but it's not clear what's on them or whether they'll be allowed in.
Posted at 10:28 AM, Aug 13, 2014

Hundreds of white trucks, their contents unknown, are heading from Russian to the Ukrainian border, but that looks to be as far as they're going to get. Ukrainian officials have reportedly decided to block the trucks from entering the country. 

The trucks, which Russia has described as a humanitarian aid convoy, are thought to be something much more sinister by many Ukrainians. (Video via CNBC)

As The Guardian writes: "Some believed the convoy was a made-for-TV propaganda stunt to help the largely Russian-speaking population of Eastern Ukraine. Others were convinced the slow-moving column was a classic 'Trojan horse' intelligence operation."

The latter seemed to be a popular theory among a number of outlets reporting on suspicions that the convoy is carrying weapons or is otherwise meant to cause political turmoil. 

BBC: "It has been a way for the Russians to apply a lot of pressure on the Ukrainian government to make the point that the Ukrainian government isn't doing much ... for the people in Eastern Ukraine who are under shellfire."

For its part, Russia's state-funded news channel RT seemed to have a pretty good idea of what was on board, reporting the supplies included baby food, sleeping bags, water and salt, among other things. 

The area in question, Luhansk, is where Ukrainian forces have surrounded separatist rebels and subsequently cut off supply lines. (Video via Google)

CNN: "These people have been essentially cut off from the outside world, isolated for more than a week and a half now. No electricity, no running water, food is running out, medical supplies are almost gone." 

The Kyiv Post reports that need has prompted the Ukrainian government to launch its own aid effort in conjunction with the Red Cross and, a little confusingly, supported by Russia and the E.U. They just don't want those trucks.

The Russian convoy is expected to reach the Ukrainian border by Wednesday night.