The International Committee of the Red Cross expects to sort out all issues concerning the security of the Russian humanitarian aid convoy heading to eastern Ukraine by Wednesday, an ICRC official has said.
"Negotiations have already been under way for a certain period of time. It is difficult to establish contact with all parties. We are awaiting security guarantees both from the Ukrainian side and the militia," Viktoria Zotikova, spokesperson for the ICRC's delegation for Russia, Belarus and Moldova, told Interfax.
When asked whether the ICRC was expecting to receive security guarantees for the aid convoy ahead of an upcoming visit to Moscow by Laurent Corbaz, ICRC Head of Operations for Europe and Central Asia, Zotikova said that "hopefully, we will have them in time" for the visit.
Corbaz will arrive in the Russian capital on Tuesday evening and will hold meetings with Russian officials on Wednesday, she said.
On August 15, Corbaz visited Kiev, where he met with representatives of the Ukrainian authorities. Afterwards, the ICRC official returned to Geneva, from where he will fly to Moscow on Tuesday.
Corbaz's trips to Kiev and Moscow are taking place amid attempts to resolve all issues surrounding the delivery of Russia's humanitarian aid to the population of Ukraine's southeastern regions.
Russia sent 280 KamAZ trucks carrying nearly 2,000 tonnes of humanitarian supplies to Ukraine last week. Under an agreement reached between Moscow and Kiev, the aid convoy was supposed to cross the Russian-Ukrainian border through the Shebekino-Pletnyovka checkpoint, between Russia's Belgorod region and the Kharkiv region of Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said then that "the Russian side agreed to accommodate the Ukrainian side's requests concerning the route for the convoy, inspections of the cargo and other elements of the operation."
The ministry said in a later statement that Kiev had started to unilaterally change its agreements with Moscow and put forth new demands.
Moscow and Kiev agreed afterwards that the humanitarian aid convoy would cross from Russia into Ukraine through the border between the Rostov and Luhansk regions.
The Ukrainian authorities insisted from the very beginning that the aid should be delivered to Ukraine under the auspices of the ICRC.
Zotikova told Interfax earlier that the ICRC would be ready to handle the delivery of this cargo, but Russia and Ukraine should first sort out all issues regarding the status of the supplies and the terms of their transportation. Furthermore, the ICRC insists that the security of its employees who will accompany the cargo on Ukrainian territory must be guaranteed.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday that all matters concerning the delivery of the Russian humanitarian aid to Ukraine's southeastern regions had been resolved.
Zotikova, however, told Interfax that so far, not all sides in the Ukrainian conflict had guaranteed the security of ICRC staff.
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