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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Liveblog Day 179
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Russia Tries To Explain Why The Aid Trucks Are Empty
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A number of Western journalists have reported that the white-painted KAMAZ trucks used in Russia's humanitarian aid convoy turn out to be empty. There's been a lot of speculation about what they were planning to fill them with, but now Russian transportation officials have come up with an explanation.

It seems the KAMAZ trucks were so new -- manufactured this year -- that they weren't broken in yet, and therefore couldn't be trusted to carry full loads under Russian regulations -- nor be forced to absorb so much wear when they were brand-new.

There were also only a limited number of persons accompanying the convoy. An official from the transportation agency that handled the make-up of the convoy had explanations for RIA-Novosti (translated by The Interpreter):

"The KAMAZes were not loaded fully so that there wouldn't be excessive wear on automobiles that were not yet broken in, many of which were of 2014 make. It would mean that in case of a breakdown of the mechanics and a stop on the highway, reloading the cargo by hand to other vehicles completely filled to capacity, would be quite difficult. Moreover, a fully-loaded truck does not go fast enough uphill, so in view of the large number of vehicles, this would have had a heavy impact on the speed of the convoy's movement. And the cargo must be delivered quickly in light of the difficult humanitarian situation in the east of Ukraine."

Where to start?

First of all, these trucks are not just carrying light loads, but as we pointed out earlier they are almost empty and are carrying a tiny tiny fraction of the weight they were designed to haul.In fact, Novaya Gazeta has a new gallery up, and the trucks are ridiculously empty.

Secondly, why would new vehicles be used instead of the many many trucks at Russia's disposal?On a related note, these are military trucks, as we've pointed out below, and so why weren't different military trucks used, ones that were newer?

Thirdly, we're supposed to believe that these trucks are new, but the trucks are military vehicles which were painted white just this week. One would assume that the Russian military would break their trucks in fairly quickly, or why would they have so many trucks?

Fourth, why does the Russian government care about the speed with which the aid is delivered, since these vehicles have been parked at the same spot for days now?