MOSCOW, August 16 (RIA Novosti) — Russian Foreign Ministry has urged to ensure safe passage of the humanitarian convoy to the residents of crisis-torn Donbas region in southeastern Ukraine, the ministry said in a statement published Saturday.
"The safety of the upcoming campaign [humanitarian aid delivery] should be ensured immediately and in full, including a ceasefire during its implementation," the statement reads.
The ministry also called to speed up the procedures with customs clearance and inspection of the convoy’s cargo, which are currently under way on the Ukrainian border.
Earlier today, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also called to ensure safety of the people working at the convoy, including Russian drivers and the Red Cross representatives.
ICRC Communication Officer for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Galina Balzamova said Saturday that the trilateral talks, including Russia, Ukraine and ICRC mediators, are underway and that the ICRC needs a consent from Ukraine recognizing the cargo as humanitarian mission.
"The trilateral talks are underway. So far, we need to get Ukraine’s consent that the cargo is a humanitarian mission. The agreement has not been reached yet," Balzamova said.
Earlier this week, Russia sent a humanitarian convoy to Ukraine of 280 trucks carrying about 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid, with 400 tons of grain, 100 tons of sugar, 62 tons of baby food, 54 tons of medication, 12,000 sleeping bags and 69 mobile electrical generators.
On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Kiev had intensified its military action to prevent the humanitarian aid convoy from moving along the previously agreed-upon route to the city of Luhansk. The ministry called on all sides of the conflict to declare an immediate ceasefire for the time of the humanitarian operation and international organizations to support Russia’s efforts.