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Red Cross officials begin negotiations on Russian aid convoy passage

August 21, 2014, 0:33 UTC+3 DONETSK
"The results of the negotiations will most likely be announced tomorrow morning,” ICRC spokeswoman Galina Balzamova said
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© EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

DONETSK, August 21 /ITAR-TASS/. International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) officials and other interested parties have begun negotiations on the passage of the Russian aid convoy to Ukraine’s south-east.

“Negotiations are underway. Andreas Schmidt, one of the senior officials in our mission, is participating in them. The results will most likely be announced tomorrow morning,” ICRC spokeswoman Galina Balzamova said.

An ITAR-TASS correspondent reported that the first 16 trucks with relief supplies were standing at the Donetsk-Izvarino checkpoint on the Russian side, waiting for the customs and border control procedures to begin.

A Ukrainian Interior Ministry adviser, Andrei Lysenko, said on Wednesday that four trucks with Russian aid for south-eastern regions of Ukraine had entered the transit zone at a checkpoint in the neighbouring Rostov region of Russia but Ukrainian border guards and customs officials would most likely let then in only on Thursday.

“Four trucks have entered the transit zone at the Donetsk checkpoint in the Rostov Region. But only lists of International Committee of the Red Cross officials have been given to our border guards and customs officers. So they will most likely be able to start working only tomorrow morning as there are no documents concerning the contents of the humanitarian cargo,” he told Ukraine’s 112 television channel.

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

Earlier on Wednesday, a Russian border guard service official said that Ukrainian border guards had failed to show up at the checkpoint on the border with Russia to examine the humanitarian aid.

“Ukrainian border guards did not show up on time and remain inaccessible,” he said.

The first 16 trucks with Russian humanitarian aid entered the Donetsk-Izvarino checkpoint in the southern Rostov region and were reported to be undergoing customs clearance and border control procedures.

On August 12, about 270 trucks with almost 2,000 tonnes of relief supplies left the Moscow region, heading for the Ukrainian border. It arrived in the southern Rostov region bordering Ukraine on August 14 and has been there since then.

Ukraine and Russia have agreed the procedure for examining and customs clearing the cargo: each truck will be accompanied by a Red Cross official, and Russian and Ukrainian customs officers will examine and seal the trucks before they cross the border.

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