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Russia defends sending aid convoy


08-13-2014 07:20 BJT

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MOSCOW, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- Hours after a 280-truck convoy departed for Ukraine on Tuesday, Russia said Kiev had guaranteed to secure the delivery of Moscow's humanitarian aid on its territory.

"We are firmly relying on the reassurances given to us by the Ukrainian authorities: they guarantee the safe movement of the entire convoy through the territory controlled by the Kiev forces, " Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Sochi.

Lavrov said the pro-independence militias in that country were also informed of the convoy, and were expected to ensure its safety.

"I am certain there will be no disruptions on their part, they are on the territory whose residents need humanitarian aid," Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

Noting that Moscow, Kiev and relevant international organizations have worked intensively to coordinate the humanitarian operation, Lavrov said he expected that "some public statements that were heard from Kiev today, from some figures demanding some new conditions, will be disavowed."

Earlier on the day, conflicting reports emerged over such issues as where the convoy will cross the Russian-Ukrainian border and how will the aid be distributed.

In a telephone conversation with his German counterpart Frank- Walter Steinmeier, Lavrov called on Berlin to "employ every opportunity to facilitate the implementation of this humanitarian action in line with the existing agreements and not to allow its disruption."

The humanitarian aid, which involved no Russian military personnel or hardware, contained about 2,000 tons of relief supplies including food, medication, sleeping bags and electricity generators.

The United Nations has estimated earlier that nearly 118,000 people are currently registered as internally displaced persons in Ukraine, with 87 percent of them from the country's east. Besides, more than 168,000 Ukrainians have flown into Russia, but figures released by Moscow were much higher.

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