MOSCOW, August 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russia’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday called for an immediate ceasefire in violence-torn eastern Ukraine to ensure the safe delivery of humanitarian aid to civilian population suffering amid armed clashes between Kiev-led forces and independence supporters.
"It is necessary to guarantee the security of the upcoming humanitarian mission," the ministry said in a statement.
"We urge the warring sides at this crucial junction to show the political will to alleviate the suffering of the population of the affected region," the statement said.
Russia has sent a convoy of 280 trucks carrying some 2,000 metric tons of humanitarian aid to southeastern Ukraine, including medical supplies, food, sleeping bags and other basic necessities.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the convoy is currently in Russia’s southern Rostov region.
"We've made initial contact with Russia-led aid convoy, Rostov region, Russia. Many practical details to be clarified," ICRC tweeted Thursday.
On Wednesday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that "Ukraine may accept any type of humanitarian aid exclusively within the framework of international law and exclusively from the Red Cross."
At the same time, the country’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that Ukraine would not allow a Russian convoy of humanitarian aid to pass through the eastern Kharkiv Region.
US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said late Tuesday that Kiev and Washington would agree to Russia’s humanitarian aid delivery if Moscow accepts the Ukrainian government’s conditions.
Earlier, Russia officially addressed UN humanitarian agencies, OSCE, ICRC with a call to organize an international humanitarian mission to Ukraine. Last week, Russia urged the UN Security Council to send a mission with Russian humanitarian aid to eastern Ukraine under the auspices of the ICRC and accompanied by its representatives.
The ICRC backed the proposal, and on August 11, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced that Russia had reached an agreement with Kiev and the Red Cross on sending a humanitarian mission to eastern Ukraine, expressing hope that the West will not impede its delivery.