MOSCOW, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- Russian representatives escorting humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine have started talks with Ukraine on handover of the supplies, local media reported Friday.
"We are ready to provide all necessary documents and information about the cargo," a source was quoted by the Itar-Tass news agency as saying, adding that the cargo would be transferred to International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) mediators after all is settled.
"Right now the main issue in handing over the humanitarian aid is Ukraine's position," the source added.
A 280-truck convoy carrying about 2,000 tons of relief supplies, including food, medication, sleeping bags and electricity generators, roared out of an Emergency Situations Ministry base in the Moscow region on Tuesday.
The ICRC said Thursday the convoy had arrived in Russia's southwest region of Rostov.
According to the press service of Ukraine's anti-terror operation, 41 Ukrainian frontier guards and 18 customs officers began inspecting the cargo Friday morning. Once cleared, the humanitarian aid will go to Lugansk region.
Laurent Corbaz, the ICRC's head of operations for Europe and Central Asia, said Friday that the Russian cargo is expected to arrive at a base in Lugansk.
The humanitarian supplies will be distributed in Lugansk and other parts of the region, including towns and villages that are no longer under the control of armed units, he said.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry released a statement earlier saying that border and customs control, as well as registration of the humanitarian aid, must be carried out by "authorized bodies of Ukraine with the assistance of and monitoring by the ICRC and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe."
The ministry added that the delivery, storage and distribution of all humanitarian supplies, including those from Russia, would be exclusively observed by the ICRC.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Wednesday that Kiev was ready to take the aid only from the ICRC, indicating that his government would not accept humanitarian assistance directly from Russia.
MOSCOW, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Russia on Thursday urged the warring parties in Ukraine to cease fire to make way for humanitarian aid delivery in the country.
"This must be done in order to guarantee the security of the upcoming humanitarian mission. A ceasefire is required by the appalling situation in the southeast of Ukraine," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. Full story
KIEV, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- At least 16 people were killed in eastern Ukraine over the past day as government forces stepped up their offensive against independence-seeking rebels, authorities said Friday.
The conflict has reached a critical stage in Donetsk city, where heavy shelling on Thursday afternoon killed 11 civilians and injured eight others. Full story