MOSCOW, August 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his concern about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine during a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as the two leaders sought ways to de-escalate tensions, the Kremlin’s press service said Saturday.
“Ways for international community to help de-escalate the situation in Ukraine are under discussion,” the press service’s statement said.
Putin also informed Merkel of the ongoing cooperation between Russia and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on their efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the civilian population of eastern Ukraine.
Russia has sent the humanitarian convoy to eastern Ukraine comprised of 280 trucks carrying about 2,000 tons of humanitarian aid that includes 62 tons of baby food, 54 tons of medication, 100 tons of sugar, 400 tons of grain and 12,000 sleeping bags, among other necessities.
On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Kiev had intensified its military action to prevent the humanitarian aid convoy from moving along the previously agreed-upon route to the city of Luhansk. Russia called on all sides of the conflict to declare an immediate ceasefire and international organizations to support Russia’s efforts.
A military confrontation between the Kiev-backed troops and the independence supporters is taking place in eastern Ukraine. The fighting broke out after the latter refused to acknowledge the newly-instated government following the February 22 coup. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations of its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.