Ukraine, Russia Foreign Ministers Decide To Talk in Berlin: Russian Aid Impasse Continues
By Kalyan Kumar | August 18, 2014 12:22 PM EST
Even as the Ukranian resistance to the Russian aid convoy continued, the foreign ministers of both the countries finally decided to hold talks in Berlin. It was a silver lining in the midst of rumours that Russian military having entered the Ukraine territory and clashes with state forces.
People gather in front of Ukrainian Interior Ministry security forces members who form a cordon during a rally outside a city police department in the Black Sea port of Odessa, May 4, 2014. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk accused Russia on Sunday of engineering clashes in Odessa that led to the deaths of more than 40 pro-Russian activists in a blazing building and pushed the country closer to civil war.
Thus the meeting between Ukraine Foreign Minister, Pavlo Klimkin and Russia's Sergei Lavrov will take place in Berlin in the presence of Germany's foreign minister Frank-Walter-Steinmeier and France's Laurent Fabius. .
Aid Convoy Still Stuck
The Associated Press reported that a section of the Russian aid convoy headed to the border closest to the city Donetsk, but the 16 trucks were stopped, just before crossing the frontier, on Sunday. The Red Cross, mandated with the responsibility of distributing the aid, said the convoys were stuck because of the lack of security guarantees from the parties concerned.
However, Paul Picard, head of a border-monitoring mission from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, informed that X-ray machines are being brought to the Russian crossing point to inspect the cargo. .
The convoy of nearly 270 Russian vehicles has been waiting since last Thursday in a town near the Russian border, after objections from Ukraine that the aid mission was not duly authorised by the International Committee for the Red Cross.
Meanwhile, Alexander Zakharchenko, the self-proclaimed head of the rebel government in the Donetsk region, claimed his group was expecting more military reinforcements from Russia. In a video posted online, Zakharchenko claimed that 150 armoured vehicles, 30 tanks and 1,200 fighters will be joining the rebel network in Eastern Ukraine.
However, Ukraine's National Security Council claimed new gains by the government forces and said it captured a district police station in Luhansk area, after clashes with rebels at the Velika Vergunka neighbourhood.
War Plane Shot Down
Despite the claims by the Ukraine Government forces having made inroads into rebel strongholds, the Ukrainian military spokesman Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky informed that the separatists shot down its fighter plane in the Luhansk region.
There were conflicting reports on the safety of the pilot. While spokesman Oleksiy said the pilot was safe, another spokesman Andriy Lysenko said the status of the pilot was being ascertained.
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