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ICRC: Waiting to start checks of Russian aid convoy

Pascal Cuttat, Head of the Regional delegation of the ICRC for the Russian Federation, Belarus and Moldova, gets into a car at the Russia-Ukraine border control point in Russian town Donetsk, Rostov-on-Don region, Russia, Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014.(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

KAMENSK-SHAKHTINSKY, Russia: The Red Cross Sunday said its officials had arrived at an area where a mammoth Russian aid convoy is parked close to Ukraine's border but were still waiting to start official inspections.

"Our representatives are there with the convoy. They are not yet inspecting the contents but are just looking at the convoy," Victoria Zotikova, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross in Moscow told AFP.

"There was an agreement yesterday on how to inspect the convoy but the official inspections have not yet begun," Zotikova said, adding that she doubted the checks would begin on Sunday.

Days of wrangling between Kiev and Moscow over the convoy have left the roughly 300 trucks carrying what Russia says is humanitarian aid for residents of war-torn east Ukraine parked up near the border since Thursday.

The Red Cross said late Saturday that both sides had agreed on procedures for checking the cargo but that there were still no "security guarantees" for how the trucks could cross territory held by pro-Russian rebels inside Ukraine.

An official from Russia's emergency situations ministry at the site confirmed were the Red Cross was "only looking" at the convoy despite earlier claims that inspections had started.

Ukraine has said it sent some 60 border officials to the Russian side to scour the cargo amid fears by Kiev and its Western allies that the convoy could be a "Trojan horse" ploy by Moscow to bolster the flagging pro-Kremlin insurgency.

 

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