The convoy conundrum on the Russia-Ukraine border may be moving closer to being solved, with Moscow and Kyiv agreeing Russian humanitarian aid can be delivered by the Red Cross, but with many details still unclear and under discussion.
Ukrainian border guards have been checking the cargo making sure there are no weapons. Reporters at the scene say many of the vehicles are not fully loaded.
Kyiv has said that it fears the humanitarian exercise may be a cover for a covert Russian military operation to help the rebels.
The Red Cross is adamant there would be no military escort for the lorries when they enter Ukraine. They would also have just one driver, rather than the original crew of three, as they head into territory held by pro-Russian forces.
Laurent Corbaz, Head of Operations for Europe and Central Asia with the International Committee of the Red Cross, told reporters: “ICRC never accepts military escorts, hence we need to have our own security set up, security guarantees, so as to make sure that everybody accepts that we passed through on agreed roads, on agreed routes.”
And in what looked like a new attempt at shuttle diplomacy, Russia’s Vladimir Putin met Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto in Sochi.
The Finnish leader was then set to travel to Kyiv to discuss the crisis with Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting Putin said he was “seriously concerned” by the humanitarian situation in east Ukraine and would do his utmost to help end the military conflict there and establish dialogue between Kiev and the rebels.