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    Russian aid convoy moves toward Ukrainian-Moldovan border

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    MOSCOW/KIEV, March 24 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said Friday that a humanitarian convoy passing through Ukraine to a breakaway region in neighboring Moldova had taken to the road again after a short stop.

    "The convoy was on its way again at 8 p.m. Moscow time [5 p.m. GMT]," a ministry spokesman said. "It is expected to arrive in Transdnestr Saturday morning."

    Boris Zubkov, the Russian consul to Ukraine, said all 24 trucks had left the town of Krolevets, 65 kilometers (40 miles) from Kiev, where the convoy had taken a scheduled break.

    Moscow sent the convoy of 24 trucks carrying 230 metric tons of medicines and other essentials to the residents of the self-proclaimed republic of Transdnestr on Wednesday.

    Earlier today, Ukraine's foreign minister said that the passage of the Russian humanitarian convoy through his country was a provocation ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections, while Zubkov said the vehicles were not carrying any campaign slogans or inscriptions, but only the insignia of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry.

    Russia sent the humanitarian aid to Transdnestr after the local authorities reported huge economic losses and said the republic was facing a humanitarian catastrophe following the imposition of new customs regulations by Ukraine at Moldova's request.

    Yury Brazhnikov, head of the Emergency Situations Ministry's international department, said earlier that the Russian convoy had stopped for a break about 40 miles away from the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, and criticized Ukraine for making traveling conditions more difficult.

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

    The convoy had retained all its state symbols, in accordance with the Geneva Convention, Brazhnikov said.

    The new customs regulations in Transdnestr require all goods from the region bound for Ukraine to have an official Moldovan stamp. Some Russian politicians have said the new regulations amount to an economic blockade of the region.

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