NOGINSK /Moscow Region/, December 16. /TASS/. Russian Emergencies Ministry trucks that delivered on December 12 humanitarian aid to the troubled Donetsk and Lugansk regions in eastern Ukraine have returned to their permanent deployment site, ministry spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky told TASS.
Drobyshevsky said “ministry trucks that brought more than 1,200 tons of humanitarian cargoes to Donetsk and Lugansk as part of the ninth convoy have returned to the Noginsk rescue center from the Rostov Region.”
The spokesman said the trucks will undergo maintenance service, after which they will be loaded with humanitarian aid and head to the Rostov Region again, where the tenth convoy for Donbass (Donetsk and Lugansk regions) will be formed. Trucks with relief cargoes from the Urals, Volga, Northwestern, Southern and Central regions will also arrive in the Rostov Region.
Deputy Emergencies Minister Vladimir Stepanov said earlier the tenth convoy will be sent to Donbass (Donetsk and Lugansk regions) before New Year, approximately after December 20. Besides foodstuffs and essential items, it will also contain fir-trees, New Year’s gifts and toys for children.
Since August 11, about 12,000 metric tons of humanitarian cargoes have been delivered to Donetsk and Lugansk by nine Russian convoys. The aid consists of foodstuffs, as well as equipment and materials to ensure operation of socially significant facilities.
In line with agreements between Russia and Ukraine, the Ukrainian state border and fiscal services took part in convoy clearance. Despite that, some Ukrainian media carried reports again claiming Russia deployed weapons and soldiers to southeast Ukraine under the guise of a humanitarian cargo.
Employees of the mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) confirmed that the cargo delivered from Russia to Donbass is humanitarian.
According to the United Nations, more than 4,000 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have fled Ukraine’s southeast as a result of clashes between Ukrainian troops and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.
The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at talks mediated by the OSCE on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.
The ceasefire took effect the same day but has reportedly been violated on numerous occasions.
The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum on September 19 in Minsk, which outlined the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.
The nine-point document in particular stipulates a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibers of over 100 millimeters to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.
In another attempt by both parties to the Ukrainian conflict to put an end to hostilities, the "day of silence" in eastern Ukraine began at 09:00 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on December 9.