MOSCOW, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Russian humanitarian aid convoy for Ukraine's eastern regions is ready to resume its travel, a senior diplomat said Wednesday, a day after Ukraine agreed to ensure safe passage for the convoy in areas controlled by government forces.
"Common understanding of readiness to start the convoy has been registered," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said following a meeting with Laurent Corbaz, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Operations in Europe and Central Asia.
The first 16 trucks have started moving toward the customs office at the Donetsk border crossing point at the Russian side, while the rest remain near the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsk not far away, RIA Novosti news agency reported.
Russia expected another 60 ICRC employees involved in the aid missions to arrive at the Rostov region on Thursday or Friday, reinforcing the current 30-strong ICRC team, Russian Red Cross Chairperson Raisa Lukutstova told reporters Wednesday
Last Tuesday, a 280-truck convoy carrying some 2,000 tons of relief supplies, including food, medication, sleeping bags and power generators, departed from Moscow to Lugansk in eastern Ukraine. It has been parked not far from the Ukrainian-Russian border since Thursday, with Moscow and Kiev blaming each other for the suspension of the aid.
Ukrainian authorities claimed that Russia refused to deliver the humanitarian aid across the checkpoints controlled by Ukraine, and has not presented information on the contents of the humanitarian aid. In response, Moscow accused Kiev of procrastination in guaranteeing security of the convoy.
On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, ICRC President Peter Maurer and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin held several phone call sessions discussing the details of the relief operation.
On the same day, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Eugene Perebiynis said Kiev can ensure safe passage of the humanitarian convoy through the territory controlled by government troops.