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Red Cross official heading for Moscow to discuss situation around Ukraine aid convoy

August 19, 2014, 5:34 UTC+3 GENEVA
The convoy of around 270 trucks is currently stuck on the Russian-Ukrainian border
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© ITAR TASS / Sergey Fadeichev

GENEVA, August 19 /ITAR-TASS/. Head of the International Red Cross in Europe and Central Asia, Loran Korba, is expected to go to Moscow Tuesday for discussing the situation around a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian aid for the population of war-torn Eastern Ukraine, Anastasia Isyuk, the press secretary of the Red Cross told Itar-Tass.

The convoy of around 270 trucks is currently stuck on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

Korba will hold talks with high-rank Russian officials regarding the Red Cross’s humanitarian activities in Ukraine and in particular on the convoy, Isyuk said.

Monday night, the itinerary of the trip was still in the phase of formation, she said adding that she could not name the officials Korba was going to meet with.

He left Geneva last Thursday and went to Kiev, where from he was supposed to travel to Moscow. However, he returned to Geneva after the talks with Ukrainian officials.

August 12, a column of about 270 trucks with almost 2,000 tons of foodstuffs, water, baby foods, and medical supplies left the Moscow region. It reached the Russian-Ukrainian border in the southern Rostov region August 14 and is there ever since.

Ukrainian and Russian officials coordinated the procedures of cargo inspection at the customs offices and agreed on a joint inspection of each truck by the two countries’ customs officers, after which the trucks would be sealed.

They also gave consent to placing Red Cross workers on each truck.

The International Committee of the Red Cross says the main stumbling block now is the absence of guarantees for security of its personnel. The convoy will not get on the move until they the ICRC receives them.

Getting these guarantees is a matter of primary concern for Red Cross as it must be confident that its crews will be allowed to work safely, especially considering the fact it did not give consent to armed escorting of the convoy, Isyuk said.

Korba’s visit to Moscow falls on the World Humanitarian Day. Red Cross officials admit fast delivery of aid would be in the interests of the population of Eastern Ukraine.

Korba admitted last week that people in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions had been extremely hard-hit by the crisis, as freshwater and electricity supplies in those parts of Ukraine had been heavily limited.

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