Russia urges ceasefire in Ukraine for humanitarian aid delivery

MOSCOW, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- Russia on Thursday urged the warring parties in Ukraine to cease fire to make way for humanitarian aid delivery in the country.

"This must be done in order to guarantee the security of the upcoming humanitarian mission. A ceasefire is required by the appalling situation in the southeast of Ukraine," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Noting that the humanitarian mission has entered the final stage, Russia called on the warring sides in Ukraine to show political will and alleviate the suffering of people.

Earlier on the day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Pavlo Klimkin discussed via telephone the practical steps that should be taken to facilitate the delivery.

The two ministers agreed that both government troops and pro- independence militias should take responsibility for providing reliable security for the mission.

A 280-truck convoy, which contained about 2,000 tons of relief supplies including food, medication, sleeping bags and electricity generators, roared out of an Emergency Situations Ministry's base in the Moscow region on Tuesday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Thursday the convoy had arrived in Russia's southwest region of Rostov.

"We've made initial contact with Russia-led aid convoy ... Many practical details to be clarified," it said on Twitter.

On Wednesday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Kiev was ready to take the aid only from the ICRC, indicating his government would not accept humanitarian assistance directly from Russia.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said Kiev will not allow the Russian trucks to cross the country's border, calling the humanitarian convoy a "provocation."

Russia has repeatedly proposed to send a humanitarian mission to southeast Ukraine, where clashes have claimed over 1,000 lives, while some Western countries expressed concerns over Moscow's intention.