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Content of Russian aid trucks must be verified-EU

Source: Reuters - Tue, 12 Aug 2014 12:00 GMT
Author: Reuters
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BRUSSELS, Aug 12 (Reuters) - A Russian humanitarian aid delivery destined for eastern Ukraine, where government forces face a pro-Russian rebellion, must be scrutinised to ensure it does not serve political ends, the European Union's humanitarian aid chief said on Tuesday.

A Russian convoy carrying food, water and other aid set off on Tuesday for eastern Ukraine, but Kiev said it would not allow the vehicles to cross onto its territory. The cargo would have to be unloaded by the Red Cross and transferred to other vehicles.

Western governments warned Moscow against any attempt to turn the operation into a military intervention by stealth.

"It is very important that delivery of humanitarian aid anywhere, by anyone, complies with the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence and that international humanitarian organisations are those who ... help people affected by crisis," EU humanitarian aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said, when asked about the Russian aid effort.

"No political or any other objectives must be pursued," she told a news conference. "The content of humanitarian aid must be exactly that, humanitarian aid, and obviously cannot be taken on face value."

The European Commission said on Tuesday it was giving 2.5 million euros ($3.34 million) in humanitarian aid to provide shelter, food and healthcare to people displaced by the fighting in eastern Ukraine.

($1= 0.7495 euro) (Reporting by Adrian Croft; editing by Ralph Boulton)

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