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WASHINGTON, August 12, 3:19 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s planned humanitarian aid for the embattled southeastern regions in Ukraine must is possible only with the consent from the authorities in Kiev, the White House said in a statement following President Barack Obama’s telephone talks with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Monday.
“The [US] President and [Italian] Prime Minister considered the developing situation and reiterated that any intervention under the guise of “humanitarian” assistance must be provided only with the formal, express consent and authorization of the Government of Ukraine,” the statement said.
In case Moscow proceeds with its plans to deliver humanitarian aid to the war-torn Ukraine without the authorization from the authorities in Kiev further sanctions are likely to be imposed in regard to Russia, according to the statement.
“They [Obama and Renzi] agreed that any Russian steps not in accordance with these requirements would be unacceptable, would violate international law, and would lead to additional sanctions,” the statement added.
In a telephone conversation with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday, President Vladimir Putin said Russia in cooperation with the International Committee of the Red Cross would send a humanitarian convoy to Ukraine.
Putin shared his assessment of the crisis in Ukraine and its causes, placing the emphasis on “the catastrophic consequences of the military operation the Kiev authorities are conducting in south-eastern regions and on the need for urgent humanitarian aid to the region”, the presidential press service said.
The Red Cross reported on Friday that armed clashes between pro-Kiev troops and self-defense militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions had deteriorated the humanitarian situation in east Ukraine as thousands of families had been forced to flee their homes.
“The living conditions of the resident population are worsening also,” the Red Cross said in a statement.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Sunday that Russia was taking efforts to agree with Ukraine, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the United Nations on humanitarian aid deliveries.
The Russian foreign minister said humanitarian aid was urgently needed in east Ukraine as Lugansk was left without water and electricity and local hospitals were short of “basic medicines.”
The ICRC supported Russia’s proposal to deliver humanitarian aid to southeast Ukraine.
“In the current situation, any humanitarian initiative is welcome to alleviate the suffering of civilians”, Michelle Masson, the head of the ICRC delegation to Kiev, said.
“The International Committee of the Red Cross is stepping up activities for the affected population in deteriorating humanitarian and security environments,” the ICRC said in statement said.
“Our priority is to assist the displaced and resident people in Donbas, and to provide medical services to the wounded in all affected areas”, Masson said.
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has also stated its readiness to support the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.
Swiss President and OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Didier Burkhalter welcomed the ICRC announcement that it would step up activities for the affected population in south-eastern Ukrainian regions and deploy additional teams there.
Almost 850,000 people have been forced to flee their homes since the start of Kiev’s military operation in the country’s southeast, of whom 730,000 have found shelter in Russia, according to data reported by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.