Humanitarian Aid Turned Back from Donetsk
12 January, 2015

A humanitarian aid convoy in eastern Ukraine with supplies donated by one of Ukraine's oligarchs, Rinat Akhmetov, was not allowed through a checkpoint manned by one of Ukraine's volunteer battalions, "Dnipro-1." The aid was intended for residents living in territories held by separatists in the Donetsk region. Members of Dnipro-1 insisted the aid could not be transferred until separatists released several Ukrainian military prisoners. The battalion also claimed that most of the products in the aid convoy go directly to the militants and only a small part are available to the civilians in separatist-held areas. The Dnipro-1 battalion is funded by Ihor Kolomoisky, who is business rivals with Rinat Akhmetov. As winter has set in, people living in the Donetsk People's Republic have become increasingly dependent on shipments of humanitarian aid from both Ukraine, Russia, private donors and international aid organizations.