Ukraine is refusing to let a convoy of Russian trucks carrying humanitarian aid into eastern Ukraine.
280 trucks have set off from Moscow, reportedly carrying two thousand tons of aid including medicine, food, sleeping bags and power generators. They are expected to arrive at the border in a couple of days.
Ukraine and Western governments allege the lorries could be a front for Russia to send troops in.
Kyiv says the only way they can pass is with the backing of the International Red Cross. The Red Cross says it has not yet been given detailed operation plans.
“We said that we could be on board but we needed to have some clarification first regarding the modalities, practical steps that have to be implemented prior to the launching of such an operation,” explained Laurent Corbaz, the ICRC head of operations for Europe and Central Asia.
Moscow however says it wants to work with the Red Cross to get the aid in.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said:“I hope that in the very near future this humanitarian action will take place under the auspices of the International Red Cross. We have agreed on all of the details with the Ukrainian government. I hope that Western partners will not put a spoke in the wheel.”
Kyiv maintains it is Moscow and not Ukrainian troops who must be blamed for the current humanitarian crisis.
Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister, Danylo Lubkivsky said: “Stop the aggression, stop the Russian terrorists, stop the shelling, stop your cynical propaganda – and there will be no need for any humanitarian aid.”
Hundreds of thousands of people in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions are short of water, electricity and medical aid after four months of heavy fighting and bombardment.