MOSCOW: Russia insisted Tuesday the route of its large aid shipment for eastern Ukraine had been agreed with Kiev and will be met by the Red Cross after crossing the border.
"The delivery will be done via a border crossing agreed by Russia and Ukraine" near the Russian town of Shebekino, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
"After crossing the Russian-Ukrainian border, the column will continue under supervision of the International Committee for the Red Cross," it said.
"Russia expects maximum cooperation by the Ukrainian side in ensuring the security of the delivery of humanitarian aid to the residents of Donetsk and Lugansk regions," it said.
The convoy of almost 300 trucks was sent in the face of concern by Ukraine and the West that it could be used to aid pro-Russian separatists fighting Kiev's rule.
A spokeswoman for the administration of Belgorod region, where Shebekino is located, told AFP she has no knowledge of the convoy.
Russian television showed the trucks being blessed by an Orthodox priest as dozens of men in beige uniforms got behind the wheel.
Russian news agencies said the trucks will likely stop for the night in the Voronezh region before continuing on their way Wednesday.
The foreign ministry said the aid consists of power generators, grain, canned meat and dairy, water, baby food, medical supplies and other items loaded on 262 vehicles.
Russia has pushed for a humanitarian mission to the east where Ukrainian troops have tightened their grip following four months of fierce battles with the rebels that have left cities without power, running water or fuel.