Kiev, Aug 31 IANS | 3 months ago

A second convoy of Russian humanitarian aid for the embattled eastern Ukraine is being discussed, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Council for National Security and Defence told reporters Sunday.

"A note came from Russia, informing about its plans to dispatch humanitarian cargo," Andrei Lysenko said.

He said both sides were discussing plans to send the cargo by railway and hand over to officials of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The amount of aid and the date of dispatch were being discussed, he said.

The first batch of Russian humanitarian aid arrived in the rebel stronghold of Lugansk Aug 22, delivering almost 2,000 tons of food, water, baby food and medicines for the city facing food, water and electricity shortages.

The eastern regions of Ukraine have been gripped by armed hostilities for several months, with local militias fighting government troops, after the Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to obey the new authorities in Kiev following the ouster of president Viktor Yanukovich from power in late February.

The Russian Red Cross said it was ready to accompany a second aid convoy to Ukraine and had already set up five teams of volunteers and workers for that.

"The Red Cross has sent letters to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov, offering assistance in escorting the aid and helping to distribute it in the southeast of Ukraine," the organisation's spokesperson Tatyana Klenitskaya said Saturday.

Kiev's military operation, designed to regain control over Donetsk and Lugansk, both self-proclaimed republics, kicked off in mid-April and has involved armoured vehicles, heavy artillery and airstrikes.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed, many buildings destroyed and hundreds of thousands of people forced to flee Ukraine's war-torn southeast.

(Posted on 31-08-2014)

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