ICRC lays down principles for delivering Russian aid to Ukraine

Reuters

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA (Reuters) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it held talks on Monday with Ukrainian and Russian authorities on delivering Russia's proposed aid to eastern Ukraine, but laid down strict guidelines to uphold its neutral role in conflicts.

Thousands of people are believed to lack access to water, electricity and medical aid, the independent aid agency said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier on Monday that Russia was sending an aid convoy to eastern Ukraine despite Western warnings not to use humanitarian help as a pretext for an invasion. [ID:nL6N0QH0RB}

The ICRC, an independent aid agency, said that it had submitted a document to both sides and needed agreement from all parties as well as security guarantees to carry out the operation, as it does not use armed escorts.

"Today (Monday) the ICRC met with the Ukrainian and the Russian authorities and shared a document which specifies the manner in which such an operation could take place," it said.

This required agreement by all sides that the ICRC would be allowed to deliver the aid with due respect for its fundamental working principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence.

"The document also stipulates ... that prior to the beginning of the operation, the ICRC should receive without undue delay from the authorities of the Russian Federation all necessary details concerning the aid, including the volume and type of items, and requirements for transport and storage."

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Andrew Roche)

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