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Russia wants humanitarian aid 'bridge' into Ukraine: Report

Published on Aug 30, 2014 4:54 PM
Employees of Russian Emergency Ministry carry boxes with humanitarian aid in a refugee camp for refugees from eastern Ukraine near the Russian city of Donets'k, Rostov region, about 15 kilometres from the Russian-Ukrainian border. -- PHOTO: AFP

MOSCOW (AFP) - A senior military official said on Saturday that Russia wants a "humanitarian bridge" to ferry multiple aid shipments into war-torn areas of eastern Ukraine.

Russian authorities, social organisations and businesses "are thinking of organising not one humanitarian convoy, which we have already sent, but a second, third, tenth," Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov told the state RIA-Novosti news agency in an interview.

"In general, we would like for there to be a normal humanitarian bridge between" Russia and the rebel-held cities of Lugansk and Donetsk where many civilians have been trapped by fighting.

Russia sent a convoy of more than 200 lorries carrying what it said was over 1,800 tonnes of humanitarian aid to Lugansk last weekend without the final approval of Ukrainian authorities and without Red Cross monitors. Kiev called it an "invasion" and the West upbraided Moscow for violating Ukraine's territorial integrity.

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