UPDATE AS OF DECEMBER 31: The Red Cross official now says he was misquoted and that the interpretation that NVUA.net put on his remarks does not reflect his views. I am grateful to Catherine Fitzpatrick for calling this to my attention.
Staunton, December 26 – Igor Trunov, the head of the Moscow city office of the Russian Red Cross, says that it is likely that the Russian government used what it called “humanitarian convoys” to ship arms to pro-Moscow fighters in Ukraine, in direct violation of international humanitarian law and practice.
Trunov said yesterday that he doesn’t like to “cast stones” at the Russian government. But “there is international law,” and Moscow has violated it. Using humanitarian convoys to send arms across an international border is “an invasion” and “a violation” of the law (m.nvua.net/ukraine/v-rossiyskom-krasnom-kreste-zayavili-chto-konvoi-putina-vozili-v-donbass-oruzhie-26937.html).
Given the way in which Russian officials oversaw these convoys, it was possible for them to carry whatever Moscow wanted, including arms and military personnel, the Red Cross official said. Such actions, he said, make it far more difficult to ensure the delivery of real humanitarian assistance of the kind his organization provides to people in Ukraine who need it.
Trunov’s declaration follows confirmation by Russian activists that they sent armed militants into Ukraine via these convoys (windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2014/12/window-on-eurasia-russians-used.html). And his words suggest that Moscow may very well continue to do so even as it talks about its supposed support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine.