HARARE, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- The Russian Federation has donated a planeload of cooking oil and wheat flour worth 1 million U.S. dollars to Zimbabwe through the United Nations' World Food Program, local media reported on Thursday.
Russia also pledged to provide a further 2 million dollars worth of food aid in due course, according to Russian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Sergey Kryukov.
Speaking at the hand over ceremony at Harare International Airport on Wednesday, Kryukov stressed that Russia had always been a natural friend and ally of African countries, including Zimbabwe.
"Thanks to our internal development, Russian policy towards Africa is getting more sustainable and active, thus creating new possibilities for further cooperation," he said.
The historic bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and Russia are rooted in the struggle for independence.
"We invariably supported Zimbabwe on the international arena, especially at the UN and today when Zimbabwe faces difficult times Russia once again has come to assist," Kryukov said.
"(In) the 2009 State Budget Russia will additionally provide 2 million dollars to the UN World Food Program to help the Zimbabwean people to overcome the hardships of the economic crisis."
Local Government, Urban and Rural Development Minister Ignatius Chombo welcomed the friendly gesture on behalf of Government.
He said Russia joined a growing list of many friendly countries in supporting the SADC initiative to revive the economy of the country and alleviate the suffering of the Zimbabwean people.
"This is a clear testimony of the immense contribution that a friendly country can do during such a crucial moment," Chombo said. He also commended all the countries and international institutions including the WHO, UNESCO and WFP for their collective generosity in helping alleviate the humanitarian situation in the country.¡¡