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Moscow, Kiev agree on humanitarian relief operation

Russia and Ukraine have agreed on details of a humanitarian relief operation under the aegis of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in southeast Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday.

"I can say with cautious optimism that all possible and impossible excuses (in organizing the aid delivery) have been removed. We have accorded all details with the Ukrainian authorities," RIA Novosti news agency quoted Lavrov as saying. " The humanitarian mission will be organized very soon under the ICRC. We hope the West would not hinder (the mission)."

The minister added that Russia would supply the relief cargo.

He noted that Western governments' behavior is nothing but hypocrisy when it comes to the Ukrainian crisis.

"If the reports are correct that British, French, German leaders see no urgency of humanitarian aid for the war-torn eastern Ukraine, it means the West shows the highest level of cynicism," Lavrov told reporters in the Black Sea city of Sochi.

Lavrov said it is hard to call those countries uniting against Russia "good partners," and claimed that it would be necessary to respond to their actions with all measures possible within the framework of international law.

Russia had been urging all parties in conflict to sit down to talks, according to the minister.

"In our contacts with Western leaders, we again call all parties in the conflict to stop and to fulfill their agreement of sitting down at the negotiation table and starting a comprehensive constitutional process with the participation of all regions," said the minister.

Lavrov also accused Ukrainian authorities of ethnic cleansing in the predominantly Russian-speaking rebellious regions.

"It seems the purpose of the so-called anti-terrorist operation is to raze the southeast (of Ukraine) to the ground, force all Russians to leave, and scheme to later populate the regions by people with different view on our history, culture, friendship and centuries-long ties between our peoples," Lavrov said.

During an emergency UN Security Council meeting last Tuesday, Russia and the UN called for humanitarian aid corridors to be established in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine's acting representative to the UN Oleksandr Pavlychenko denied there was humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, insisting Ukraine has no humanitarian crisis.

According to the UN, out of the internally displaced 117,910 people throughout Ukraine, 87 percent were from the east. Over 168, 000 Ukrainians crossed to Russia since the start of the government 's "anti-terror operation."

Lavrov said Sunday that Lugansk was left without water and electricity and local hospitals were short of "basic medicines."

[Source: Xinhua, Moscow, 11Aug14]

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