MOSCOW, August 22 (RIA Novosti) – A spokeswoman from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Friday the organization would consider escorting the convoy of 280 Russian humanitarian aid trucks to affected areas in war-torn eastern Ukraine if it obtained security guarantees.
“I don’t want to make any forecasts now because we act on certain conditions and criteria, which we already announced last week, and they still apply,” ICRC spokeswoman Viktoria Zotikova told RIA Novosti.
The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier voiced its dissatisfaction with Ukraine’s attempts to hold up the aid convoy, saying Moscow was not going to put up with any more of Kiev’s “blatant lies” about why the delivery had to be delayed for days.
The ministry said it welcomed an escort by ICRC staff who could facilitate the delivery of essential items to the besieged Ukrainian city of Luhansk. The convoy of some 280 trucks is carrying about 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid, including 400 tons of grain, 100 tons of sugar and 54 tons of medication, along with other cargo.
Zotikova confirmed the relief organization had been notified about Russia’s plea for cooperation, but stressed it had not obtained sufficient security guarantees and was not accompanying the trucks that had earlier hit the road to Luhansk.
This statement runs counter to earlier reports that said the ICRC had been provided with all necessary safeguards.
Zotikova told RIA Novosti that ICRC personnel were poised to set out together with the first aid trucks before reports of heavy gunfights around Luhansk reached their colleagues in the area. As a result, the plan was scrapped and the Russian convoy continued on its own.