ASTANA – Kazakhstan has sent $400,000 worth of aid to the southeastern regions of Ukraine weathering a humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of the military conflict there, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry announced on Jan. 10.
Canned meat, sugar, buckwheat and vegetable oil were delivered by rail to the town of Severodonestsk, on the Ukrainian-Russian border, on Jan. 9. Ukraine’s State Service of Emergency Situations and the administration of Luhansk Oblast received the aid in the presence of Kazakh officials and local and international nongovernmental organisations including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“Ukraine is experiencing a difficult time … and in this situation, Kazakhstan cannot remain indifferent,” Minister-Counsellor of the Embassy of Kazakhstan in Ukraine Argyn Ospanov said of Astana’s decision to send aid.
Deputy Head of the Luhansk Oblast State Administration Olga Lishik thanked the people of Kazakhstan for their assistance. “This is serious support for us, including the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, where military action takes place and civil population suffers. We are grateful that President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan initiated such aid,” she said.
The aid included 127,875 cans of meat, 40 tonnes of sugar, 150 tonnes of buckwheat, 36,000 litres of vegetable oil, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry further clarified. In October 2014, Kazakhstan donated $30,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross toward efforts in Ukraine.
Nazarbayev discussed humanitarian aid with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during his visit to Kiev on Dec. 22. Later, Nazarbayev confirmed his country’s readiness to host the next round of meetings in what is being called the Normandy Format between the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France in Astana in January. That meeting, initially announced by Poroshenko for Jan. 15 in Astana, has been under intense diplomatic negotiations since late December. It has not been confirmed and announced firmly so far.
Kazakhstan has repeatedly called on Russia and Ukraine to reach an agreement that preserves the territorial integrity of Ukraine and on the actors in the conflict to refrain from the use of force or threats of force and to focus on political and diplomatic dialogue.