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    Russian aid convoy to Transdnestr crosses Ukrainian border

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    Ukraine Thursday imposed stricter regulations on the Russian convoy, insisting that the route of the convoy be changed, Russian symbols be removed and that it travel only at night.

    MOSCOW, March 24 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid to the breakaway Moldovan region of Transdnestr crossed the border into Ukraine Friday, a ministry official said.

    "A convoy of 24 trucks crossed the Ukrainian border at 1:20 a.m. Moscow time (10:20 p.m. GMT) at the Troyebortnoye checkpoint along the route indicated by the Ukrainian side," said Viktor Beltsov, head of information at the Emergency Situations Ministry. He said the convoy had crossed the border within the timeframe proposed by Ukraine.

    Ukraine Thursday imposed stricter regulations on the Russian convoy, insisting that the route of the convoy be changed, Russian symbols be removed and that it travel only at night.

    "Moscow regrets that this demand is not conducive to the prompt delivery of aid [to the Transdnestr Region]," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said Thursday.

    "However, given the importance of the humanitarian aid for Transdnestr, Russia will deliver it along the route and within the timeframe proposed by Ukraine," Kamynin said, adding that the Foreign Ministry had sent a note outlining Moscow's position on the matter to Ukraine March 23.

    Commenting on Ukraine's demand to remove symbols, which Ukraine called "propaganda," Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday: "The Russian flag and emblem should not be considered [propaganda]," adding that Russia's desire to provide aid was not politically motivated.

    "We just want to help our citizens and deliver aid to those who need it," he said.

    Transdnestr has reported huge economic losses and is facing a humanitarian catastrophe since Moldova imposed new customs regulations in early March, requiring all Transdnestr goods bound for Ukraine to have an official Moldovan stamp, which some Russian politicians have said amounts to an economic blockade of the region. The new regulations have also been approved by Ukraine.

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