Russia dispatches new humanitarian aid convoy to eastern Ukraine

A Russian convoy of trucks transporting humanitarian goods enters Ukraine’s restive eastern city of Donetsk, November 30, 2014.

Russia has sent another aid convoy to Ukraine’s restive east amid the on-and-off exchanges of fire between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russians and the worsening humanitarian situation there.

On Sunday, more than 1,200 metric tons of supplies, including construction materials, food and medicines, crossed the border into eastern Ukraine.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry announced that a convoy of 40 trucks has delivered the supplies to the flashpoint city of Lugansk, while 60 trucks were unloaded in the Makiivka suburb of Donetsk.

Yuriy Pokintelitsa, the mayor of Makiivka, said the supplies would be prioritized for those who are most in need, such as hospital patients, school children and the poor.

He emphasized that more humanitarian aid is needed in the volatile region.

“All that we have received is about three to five percent of what the [Donetsk] republic needs. We really need baby food, medicine and of course food products,” Pokintelitsa added.

This is the eighth relief aid convoy that Russia has dispatched to the violence-scarred eastern regions of Ukraine since August. Oleg Voronov, a representative of the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry, has said Moscow would soon dispatch new aid.

The humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in eastern Ukraine as the central government in Kiev has suspended funding and services there.

Ukraine’s mainly Russian-speaking regions in the east have witnessed deadly clashes between pro-Russia forces and the Ukrainian army since Kiev launched military operations to silence the pro-Moscow protests in mid-April.

According to the latest figures released by the United Nations, more than 4,300 people have been killed in the fighting. In addition, nearly a million people have been forced to flee their homes.

Kiev and its Western allies accuse Russia of having a hand in the chaotic situation in eastern Ukraine. However, the Kremlin has repeatedly denied the allegation as baseless.


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