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KIEV, August 31, /ITAR-TASS/. A second convoy of Russian humanitarian aid for the embattled east of Ukraine is being discussed, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Council for National Security and Defence told reporters on Sunday.
“A note came from Russia, informing about its plans to dispatch humanitarian cargo,” Andrei Lysenko said.
He said the sides were discussing plans to send it by railway and hand over to officers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The amount of aid and the date of dispatch were being discussed, he said.
The first batch of Russian humanitarian aid arrived in the rebel stronghold of Lugansk on August 22, delivering almost 2,000 tons of food, water, baby food and medicines for the city facing food, water and electricity shortages.
Eastern regions of Ukraine have been gripped by armed hostilities for several months, with local militias fighting government troops, after the Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to obey the new authorities in Kiev following the forcible removal of President Viktor Yanukovich from power in late February.
The Russian Red Cross said it was ready to accompany a second aid convoy to Ukraine and had already set up five teams of volunteers and workers for that.
“The Red Cross has sent letters to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov, offering assistance in escorting the aid and helping to distribute it in the south-east of Ukraine,” the organisation’s spokesperson Tatyana Klenitskaya said on Saturday.
Kiev’s military operation designed to regain control over the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums and now call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics, kicked off in mid-April and has involved armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Hundreds of civilians have been killed, many buildings destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people forced to flee Ukraine’s war-torn southeast.