BERLIN, August 10 (RIA Novosti) – Russia may deliver humanitarian assistance to crisis-hit Ukraine only after it secures Kiev’s consent, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday.
“Yesterday, I discussed with a number of our European partners what assistance we can offer. We all believe that Russian humanitarian aid may be delivered only with consent of the Ukrainian government. Humanitarian assistance should be carried out under the auspices of international organizations, such as the Red Cross,” Steinmeier said in a statement obtained by RIA Novosti.
The German diplomat welcomed the fact that “apparently, there is an agreement on humanitarian aid deliveries” between Ukraine and Russia. Details should be worked out by the contact group consisting of representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).
The minister stressed that Germany was concerned about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. Since the beginning of July, Germany has increased the volume of funds on humanitarian assistance to 3.5 million euros (about $4.7 million). The funds are being distributed through international organizations, including the United Nations.
On Tuesday, Russia offered at the UN Security Council to deploy an international humanitarian mission with Russian humanitarian aid under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Ukraine’s troubled eastern regions. Soon after that, Kiev said it would manage on its own and denied there was a humanitarian crisis in the country.
Late Friday, the International Committee of the Red Cross welcomed Russia’s proposal.
Britain and the United States said Saturday that any humanitarian mission deployed by Russia in Ukraine, would be “unjustified and illegal.” Also on Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in a phone conversation with US Secretary of State John Kerry stressed the necessity of urgent measures to avert a looming humanitarian catastrophe in Ukraine’s southeastern regions and urged to support Russia’s initiative on the humanitarian mission.