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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.
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.
“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.