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Ukraine unwilling to accept humanitarian aid from Russia

Posted on Aug 13 2014 | IANS

Kiew, Aug 13 : Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk Wednesday signalled that his government will not accept humanitarian assistance directly from Russia.

"Ukraine may get any kind of humanitarian assistance solely within the framework of international law and exclusively from the Red Cross," Yatsenyuk said in a cabinet meeting, according to Xinhua.

He added that the Ukrainian government has allocated about USD 10 million from the state budget to purchase food and other essential commodities, which will be delivered to the people in the war-torn eastern regions.

Yatsenyuk asked the representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to assist in transporting Kiev's aid safely through the rebel-controlled areas to those in need.

Earlier, Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on his Facebook page that Kiev will not allow the Russian trucks to cross the country's border, calling the humanitarian convoy a "provocation".

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the Ukrainian side agreed to allow 280 Russian lorries to drive into its territory.

Moscow said that the humanitarian aid, which contained about 2,000 tonnes of relief supplies, including food, medication, sleeping bags and electricity generators, do not involve Russian military personnel or hardware.

Moscow's initiative to provide people in eastern Ukraine with aid sparked speculations that Russia could use the humanitarian convoy to transfer weapons to independence-seeking insurgents.

Kiev has repeatedly blamed Moscow for inciting the separatist unrest in eastern Ukraine, which Russia consistently denies.

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