Russia and Ukraine are slowly inching towards an agreement on allowing a convoy of more than 260 Russian vehicles to enter the country carrying food, water and medicine for civilians trapped by the fighting between government forces and separatists in the east.
Both sides remain suspicious of the other’s motives as the negotiations dragged on under the eyes of international monitors.
Red Cross officials said it was agreed on Saturday how the cargo would be inspected and cleared, but security remained an issue.
Pascal Cuttat, head of the Red Cross delegation for Russia, told journalists: “At this stage we and the authorities have agreed on procedures, and therefore, we are all ready, but are waiting for the parties to the conflict to tell us that the security guarantees are given to us in order to be able to move safely.”
Cuttat said it was unclear how long it could take to get those guarantees which it needs as Red Cross personnel will accompany each lorry through rebel-controlled territory.
Russia says this is a purely humanitarian mission, but Ukraine is concerned it could be used to infiltrate military supplies or create a pretext for armed intervention.