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Russia offers humanitarian aid, Ukraine confirms partial Russian pullout

Posted on May 28 2014 | IANS

Moscow/Kiev, May 28 : Russia Wednesday offered to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine's eastern regions as Ukraine confirmed a partial pullout of Russian troops from its border.

Expressing its readiness to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine's eastern regions, Russia said it expected a prompt response from Kiev to facilitate the deliveries.

"Russia receives insistent pleas from the conflict zones in eastern Ukraine for urgent humanitarian aid," the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

Noting that the ongoing military operation in those regions had led to numerous casualties, Russia urged Ukrainian authorities to undertake all measures to provide aid delivery promptly, Xinhua reported citing the statement.

The aid would consist mostly of medical products, it said, adding the delivery routes should be agreed and secured.

Since Ukraine's political crisis became acute in February, Moscow has warned of a looming humanitarian catastrophe in the country.

In March, Federal Migration Service head Konstantin Romodanovsky said Russia was concerned by symptoms of a "growing humanitarian catastrophe" in Ukraine.

During recent operations by Ukraine troops and pro-government paramilitary in the rebellious Donetsk region, up to 100 people, including civilians, have been reportedly killed.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's State Border Service (SBS) Wednesday reported a partial withdrawal of Russian troops from the border.

"According to our information, the pullout of troops from our borders is under way. However, intelligence units, radio units, electronic reconnaissance units as well as logistic infrastructure are staying where they were," SBS Chairman Mykola Lytvyn told a press conference in Kiev.

Lytvyn said his agency did not rule out the possibility of Russian troops returning to the area and urged the government to create a special 3,000-troop unit to strengthen control on the eastern border-crossing, according to Xinhua.

However, Lytvyn emphasised a border closure was not on the agenda.

So far, tensions have remained high in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russia activists are engaged in conflicts with government troops.

Kiev has repeatedly blamed Moscow for inciting the unrest and splitting Ukraine. Russia denies the charges.

To ease the tension, Russia started withdrawing troops from regions bordering Ukraine from May 19.

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