Spot Report by OSCE Observer Mission: 70th Russian convoy of 21 vehicles crossed into Ukraine and returned through the Donetsk Border Crossing Point

This report is for the general public and the media.


On 21 December 2017 at 06:31 (Moscow time), the seventieth[1] Russian convoy arrived at the Donetsk Border Crossing Point (BCP). A total of 21 vehicles were checked by the Russian border guards and customs services prior to their crossing into Ukraine. All 21 vehicles had crossed back into the Russian Federation by 16:39 on 21 December.


Leaving the Russian Federation

On 21 December at 06:31 the Observer Mission observed the arrival of a Russian convoy at the gate of the Donetsk BCP. A Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (MES) team co-ordinated and led the movements of the convoy. The convoy consisted of 16 cargo trucks and five support vehicles belonging to the MES. Except for two cargo trucks the rest bore the inscription “Humanitarian help from the Russian Federation”.

At 06:31 the vehicles entered the customs control area and queued in three lines. Once the convoy arrived, the vehicles were visually checked from the outside by the Russian Federation border guards and customs officers. The Russian MES staff rolled up/opened the tarpaulins of the trucks and the border guards and customs officials performed a visual observation from the outside.

Two service dogs were present and used by the Russian Federation border guards to check the vehicles from the outside. Four Ukrainian border guards and one customs officer were observed accompanying their Russian counterparts; they also performed a visual observation of the vehicles from the outside (without entering the trucks’ cargo space). The Ukrainian officials had clipboards in their hands and were taking notes. The Ukrainian officials were permanently escorted by two armed men in camouflage. By 07:09 all the vehicles had left the BCP towards Ukraine.

Returning to the Russian Federation

At 16:14 the convoy returned and queued in the customs area. The tarpaulins of the trucks were opened and Russian border guards and customs officers visually checked the returning convoy from the outside without the assistance of service dogs. Ukrainian representatives – four border guards – were present during this check. They also performed visual checks of the opened trucks from the outside. By 16:39 all 21 vehicles had crossed back into the Russian Federation.

[1] According to the statement of the Russian Federation officials, this convoy is considered to be the seventy-second Russian convoy which was sent to Ukraine. As two of these convoys did not cross through the “Donetsk” or “Gukovo” border crossing points, the Observer Mission did not record them. Hence, based on the Observer Mission’s counting, this convoy is considered the 70th convoy that has crossed into Ukraine.

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