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17 Aug, 2014 23:42

Russia's humanitarian aid to cross into Ukraine in batches

Russia's humanitarian aid to cross into Ukraine in batches

Russian humanitarian aid trucks will cross the Ukrainian border in small batches of several dozen vehicles and only after a thorough examination by border guards, Kiev says, following an official acknowledgment of 280 trucks carrying crisis-relief cargo.

“The cargo, in agreement with the mission of the Red Cross, will be delivered to the international crossing point of Izvarino-Donetsk in batches of up to 30 vehicles,” the head of the Ukrainian State Fiscal Service Anatoliy Makarenko was quoted as saying by LB.ua.

After clearing customs, the aid trucks will be transferred “only to official representatives of the Red Cross,” Makarenko added.

The Red Cross is expected to arrive at the border crossing on Monday to perform the necessary procedures.

Currently, only 16 trucks from the humanitarian convoy are at the “Donetsk” border checkpoint on the Russian side, awaiting inspection, while the rest are still parked at a local depot in order to avoid jamming the border crossing.

In total, Russia moved over 270 trucks with almost 1,800 tons of medical supplies, food, including baby food, sleeping bags and other basic necessities towards Ukraine’s border last Tuesday. But the cargo still has not reached the residents of the regions badly hit by the conflict, even after Kiev recognized the Russian convoy as humanitarian aid cargo of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Meanwhile, the German foreign minister stated that he supports the sending of Russian humanitarian aid to the region and hoped that during the talks “the final difficulties could be cleared.”

“It would be nice if this [Russian] cargo could be delivered to where it is urgently need - in the Lugansk and Donetsk regions, as well as in other cities of Ukraine,” he said, as the foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France met in Berlin for a second round of talks in search of a political solution to the Ukrainian crisis.

Lorries part of a Russian humanitarian convoy approach a checkpoint at the Ukrainian border some 30 km outside the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky in the Rostov region, on August 17, 2014. (AFP Photo/Dmitry Serebryakov)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Saturday it was ready to take the aid shipment under its jurisdiction.

“All the parties involved should come to an agreement about conditions for the convoy to cross the territory of Ukraine, and ICRC staff should be guaranteed security as the Red Cross does not have its [own] armed guard,” ICRC’s spokeswoman Galina Balzamova told reporters.