UKRAINE WAR: Hellenic Red Cross sends off third convoy of humanitarian aid

Hellenic Red Cross

The third consignment of humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian border was sent by the Hellenic Red Cross on Tuesday.

Specifically, three trucks filled with roughly 50 tons of humanitarian aid departed from the Red Cross warehouses, bound for Ukraine, in the presence of Climate Crisis and Civil Protection Minister Christos Stylianides.

The humanitarian aid, consisting of non-perishable foods, bottled water, antiseptics, medical supplies and pharmaceuticals which will be delivered to the warehouses of the Ukrainian Red Cross in Chernivtsi, so that it can be handed out directly to the citizens.

Hellenic Red Cross Ukraine War

"I am here today at a major dispatch of humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian borders and probably in Ukraine, in order to alleviate the pain of the people that are in the war zones," Stylianides said.

He also thanked the president of the Hellenic Red Cross Antonis Avgerinos who, as he said, is the "soul of this great effort".

Amnesty International on Tuesday slammed "war crimes" in Ukraine, as the civilian toll continues to rise after Russia's invasion, likening the situation to the Syrian war.

"What is happening in Ukraine is a repetition of what we have seen in Syria," Agnes Callamard, secretary general of the global rights watchdog, told AFP.

She was speaking in Johannesburg at the launch of the rights group's annual report on the state of human rights in the world.

"We are beyond indiscriminate attacks. We are in the midst of deliberate attacks on civilian infrastructure," she said, accusing Russia of turning humanitarian corridors into "death traps".

"We see the same thing here, just as Russia did in Syria".

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday urged Western nations to toughen sanctions quickly against Russia, including an oil embargo, to stop Moscow having a free hand to escalate its measures against his country.

In his nightly video address to Ukrainians, a clearly irritated Zelensky said the West had miscalculated last year in delaying sanctions and the invasion had followed.

"A full-scale war has begun. Now there are many hints and warnings that supposedly tougher sanctions, such as an embargo on Russian oil supplies to Europe, will be put in place if Russia uses chemical weapons," Zelensky said, occasionally banging his hands on a table.

"There are simply no words ... We, people who are alive, have to wait. Doesn't everything the Russia military has done to date warrant an oil embargo? Don't phosphorous bombs warrant it? A shelled chemical production facility or a shelled nuclear power plant doesn't warrant it?"

Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told PBS in an interview on Monday that Russia would resort to nuclear weapons only in the case of a "threat to the existence" of his country – and not as a result of the current conflict with Ukraine.

"But any outcome of the operation (in Ukraine), of course is not a reason for usage of a nuclear weapon," Peskov said. "We have a security concept that very clearly states that only when there is a threat for existence of the state, in our country, we can use and we will actually use nuclear weapons to eliminate the threat for the existence of our country."

For their part, British military intelligence said on Monday the Russian private military company, the Wagner Group, has been deployed to eastern Ukraine.

“They are expected to deploy more than 1,000 mercenaries, including senior leaders of the organisation, to undertake combat operations,” Britain’s Ministry of Defence said.

A total of 1,099 people were evacuated from Ukrainian cities through humanitarian corridors on Monday, a senior Ukrainian official said.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, deputy head of the president's office, said in an online post that 586 people had left the besieged the city of Mariupol by car and 513 were evacuated by bus in the Luhansk region.

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