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Russia hopes to send second humanitarian convoy to Ukraine

Posted on Aug 25 2014 | IANS

Moscow, Aug 25 : Moscow is preparing a second convoy to deliver humanitarian aid to Ukraine's southeastern regions after the first convoy made a successful trip to Lugansk, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

"Yesterday (Sunday) we sent an official note to the Ukrainian foreign ministry notifying of our intention to prepare another convoy with humanitarian aid," Lavrov said at a briefing, adding that a detailed list of the goods to be delivered was also sent to Kiev.

"We expressed our hope for close cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities in agreeing on all necessary formalities, on all conditions for a second convoy to go on the same route with the same parameters," he said.

"We hope that the time required, given the experience we already have, will not be same long as the first convoy," Xinhua quoted Lavrov as saying by citing the Interfax news agency as saying.

Lavrov called on the Kiev authorities and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to cooperate on the related issues of the second humanitarian convoy.

"For our part, we will continue to contact with militia to confirm safety guarantees, not only for the Russian convoy but also for officials sent by Ukraine," the minister said.

He added that Moscow was ready for complete transparency in issues relating to the delivery of humanitarian aid.

"No attempts to speculate on the humanitarian situation and to abuse it can be allowed," Lavrov warned.

According to the minister, the distribution of the Russian humanitarian aid has begun in Luhansk Monday with the participation of the ICRC staff.

He also expressed hope that the meeting Tuesday of the presidents of the Customs Union member states, Ukraine, as well as representatives from the European Union (EU), would "touch upon the problem of the humanitarian crisis in any particular format".

"We hope that all those attending will call for the humanitarian aid to be delivered to anyone in need in southeast Ukraine," the minister said.

Lavrov also warned Ukrainian and Western media of misinforming the public over events surrounding the humanitarian mission.

"There is enough misinformation on our 'invasions'... there were reports saying the Ukrainian army destroyed a Russian military convoy and Russian airborne assault vehicles carrying certain documents had been seized. It's just absurd," Lavrov said.

On Friday, a 280-truck humanitarian aid convoy entered Ukraine without Kiev's consent and International Committee of the Red Cross employee's escort, drawing fierce condemnation from Kiev as well as serious concerns from major Western countries.

Kiev and some Western countries have been opposing Russia's delivery of humanitarian aid to southeastern Ukraine for fear that Russia "might take the opportunity to invade Ukraine".

Washington and its allies condemned the move as "a further provocation and a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity".

Russia said Saturday that the convoy had returned home empty, refuting Kiev's allegation of it taking goods back.

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