By Olena Mityasova, Oleksiy Pshemyskyi, Pavlo Lysenko, Vitaliy Kovalenko, TV channel “Inter.”
Translated and edited by Voices of Ukraine
Ukrainian Canadians brought first aid kits for Ukrainian servicemen who are fighting against terrorists in eastern Ukraine.
However, the much-needed humanitarian aid for the soldiers is still sitting at [Ukrainian] customs. Our correspondents found out why.
This is Celox that can stop the bleeding. Sticky pads like this that if your lungs get shot through, one goes to the front, and one to the back [of the wound].
They transported assistance to soldiers, but they got into a war with bureaucracy. Ukrainian Canadians, Marko and Ulyana have collected money abroad for 10 thousand kits for our soldiers. They have already bought 1.5 thousand [kits]. Each costs $100.
If the military had these supplies, dozens of lives could have been saved. They bought the first aid kits, even found an airline that could deliver them free of charge to Ukraine. But Customs wouldn’t let them through.
Ulyana Suprun, a representative of the Ukrainian World Congress:
–No one does anything, we turned to the Health Ministry and nobody is able to get the cargo cleared at Customs, we can’t send [it] into Ukraine for two weeks already.
We are confident that the officials just want a bribe. After all, to let first aid supplies vital for the soldiers into the country, you only need a piece of paper from the Ministry of Health. But no one issues it.
–We will not pay because my husband and I did not stand on Maidan for three months to start paying bribes again.
Even diplomats are unable to overcome the bureaucratic machine. 1.5 thousand of the same kits from the U.S. Embassy waited for a week to get cleared by Customs. They arrived in the country only yesterday. But where the aid is, neither the Defense Ministry, nor the RNBO [National Security and Defense Council] know.
Volodymyr Chepovyi, the speaker of the RNBO information center:
–Since there is no information [as to the cargo’s whereabouts], we will take control over [the issue] for it to become effective and public.
To control where and how the humanitarian aid is now distributed, is practically impossible now.
Ihor Koziy, a military expert of the Institute of Euro-Atlantic Cooperation:
–Today, those officials who used to be corrupt still remain corrupt. In fact, this whole thing seems to be under the signature of combat units, any factor might be in play here. They could sign for more than they actually received, and therefore something is missing as a result, and so on.
It turns out that [soldiers] are fighting at the frontlines, and those bureaucrats in their offices are making profits. It is quite possible that these medical supplies may turn up in pharmacies, or, like the MREs, be sold over the Internet.
Here’s the video of “Inter” report [in Ukrainian]: