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First 16 trucks with Russian aid for Ukraine head for border control

August 20, 2014, 20:21 UTC+3 KAMINSK SHAKHTINSKY
A delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has arrived in Donetsk to accept and distribute the incoming relief aid
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© EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

KAMINSK SHAKHTINSKY, August 20. /ITAR-TASS/. The first 16 trucks with Russian humanitarian aid for south-eastern Ukraine are getting ready for border control and may enter Ukraine overnight, an ITAR-TASS correspondent reported on Wednesday.

The first 16 trucks are about 100 metres from the border crossing point and may be waved through some time this night, he said.

International officials of the Red Cross have instructed drivers of the Russian relief aid convoy as to border crossing procedures and safety rules as the convoy bound for embattled east Ukraine gets ready to cross into Ukraine, Tass reports from the site.

Everybody is waiting for an official permission and the convoy is on standby. ICRC representative Andreas Schmidt visited on Wednesday the site where the trucks are parked near the eastern Ukrainian town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky to discuss with the drivers safety of the convoy after it crossed into Ukraine.

Reassuring reports came from Moscow, though unofficial, saying the ICRC had agreed with Russian and Ukrainian authorities on border and customs control procedures for the Russian relief aid convoy.

“This morning the ICRC lead group crossed the border into the eastern Ukraine having earlier received security guarantees for their mission,” an ICRC spokeswoman Anatasiya Isyuk told ITAR-TASS. “The group probes the conditions of roads and the situation on the whole as well as establishes contacts within the frames of preparations for the convoy’s movement.”

Isyuk added that additional staff members from the Red Cross arrived from Geneva in Russia’s southern city of Rostov today and would help monitoring customs inspection of the humanitarian aid convoy.

Earlier in the day, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in its statement that Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov discussed the situation concerning Russia’s humanitarian aid for Ukraine with the ICRC Operations for Europe and Central Asia department Laurent Corbaz at a meeting today in Moscow.

Infographics Humanitarian aid to southeastern Ukraine Humanitarian aid to southeastern Ukraine
Russia has sent a humanitarian cargo to Ukraine to deliver food, medicines and water to the conflict zone. Infographics by ITAR-TASS
According to the statement, the officials discussed “issues concerning the immediate delivery of the Russian humanitarian cargo to the embattled regions in Ukraine’s southeast.”

“The lead group of the Red Cross representatives has already set out along the planned route [of the convoy],” the statement added.

The ministry also said that Wednesday’s talks between Ryabkov and Corbaz were based on numerous telephone conversations on Tuesday held by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov with ICRC President Peter Maurer and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin.

Russia dispatched a convoy of trucks with humanitarian supplies for the population of southeast Ukraine early last week. The humanitarian supplies include foodstuffs, baby food, medicines and drinking water.

This morning the ICRC lead group crossed the border into the eastern Ukraine having earlier received security guarantees for their mission Anatasiya Isyuk an ICRC spokeswoman The aid convoy includes about 270 trucks delivering 2,000 tons of basic necessities for southeast Ukraine residents. The Russian authorities said the humanitarian cargo included 400 tons of groats, 100 tons of sugar, 62 tons of baby food, 54 tons of medicines and medical items, 12,000 sleeping bags and 69 mobile power units.

Troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the southeastern Ukrainian Donetsk and Lugansk regions are involved in fierce clashes as the Ukrainian armed forces are conducting a military operation to regain control over the breakaway territories, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums and now call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics.

During the military operation, conducted since mid-April, Kiev has used armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in it. Many buildings have been destroyed and tens of thousands of people have had to flee Ukraine’s embattled southeast.

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