Hundreds of trucks of a Russian aid convoy waited Saturday at the Ukrainian border amid concerns that the relief effort might be a guise for Russia to send in equipment to armed rebels fighting government forces in the eastern part of the country.
The main holdup was a lack of security guarantees from all sides in the conflict, said the International Committee of the Red Cross, which would have responsibility for distributing the aid. "The challenge is we absolutely need security guarantees from all parties concerned before we can start moving," said Pascal Cuttat, head of the ICRC delegation for Russia. He said they were waiting for a reply from the Ukrainian government to a request for the cargo to be processed.
Russia and Ukraine reached an agreement under which the trucks could enter with Red Cross accompaniment if Ukrainian border guards and customs agents approve the cargo.
The city of Luhansk is encircled by Ukrainian forces and is reportedly suffering from severe electrical outages and shortages of food and medicine. Donetsk, the largest rebel-held city, is also suffering through fighting including frequent shelling. Four people were killed in shelling that occurred Saturday afternoon, the mayor's office said.
- Ukraine: Russian Military Vehicles Struck After 'Incursion'
- Russian Military Vehicles Join Stalled Aid Convoy
- Russian Aid Convoy Rolls Toward Ukraine in Diplomatic Game of Chicken