Russia preparing fourth aid convoy for Donetsk, Luhansk get regions - ministry
The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry is organizing a fourth convoy of humanitarian aid for residents of south-eastern Ukraine, Deputy Minister Vladimir Stepanov told the Federation Council's public committee for providing humanitarian aid.
"We are now putting together a fourth humanitarian convoy and working together with the Foreign Ministry. The humanitarian aid is being put together, and the Foreign Ministry is to decide when and how it will be sent," Stepanov said.
The previous humanitarian convoy aid for residents of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions arrived in Donbas on September 20, he recalled. "This is over 2,000 tonnes of aid, mainly foodstuffs and essentials. In addition, we sent there over 600 power generators," Stepanov said.
Now the Emergency Situations Ministry is focusing on the forthcoming winter, so the next aid will be formed accordingly, he said. "We have already conducted an expert appraisal of the readiness for winter along with representatives from the Luhansk and Donetsk People's Republics and gave them our recommendations. We are now continuing this work. We will be forming the humanitarian cargo with the forthcoming winter in mind," Stepanov said.
On August 22, a Russian motorcade composed of 262 KAMAZ trucks carrying humanitarian aid to southeastern Ukraine reached Luhansk. Ukrainian border guards and customs officers have cleared only 34 of the trucks, as they have been blocked in the Donetsk checkpoint in the Russian Federation. The convoy had left for Luhansk without ICRC officials accompanying it, which is a breach of the arrangements with the Ukrainian government.
The second convoy, consisting of 220 vehicles arrived in Luhansk in September 13. Ukrainian border guards and customs officers were not allowed to check and clear the vehicles and the shipment and representatives of the Red Cross didn't escort the convoy.
On September 20, a column of KamAZ trucks allegedly carrying Russian humanitarian aid arrived in Donetsk. Deputy Head of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry Vladimir Stepanov said that humanitarian aid included "about 2,000 tonnes of basic necessities - food, medicines." However, the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council noted that it had no information on the contents of this "humanitarian convoy." Ukrainian border guards and customs officers, as well as representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, were not allowed to check the contents of the trucks.