World Bulletin / News Desk
More than half the vehicles of a Russian humanitarian aid convoy have arrived in the eastern Ukrainian city of Luhansk, Russian media reported on Saturday.
News agency RIA Novosti said that 100 lorries arrived on Saturday morning, with around 100 more lorries expected to reach the city during the course of the day.
The convoy, the second sent by Russia to the rebel-held city, contains 1,880 tonnes of aid including canned food, sugar, flour and diesel generators, RIA Novosti reported.
In August, Ukraine and its Western allies denounced the arrival of a first huge convoy that crossed the border without Kiev's permission.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later said Russia wanted to send a second batch of aid to ease the plight of civilians caught up in four months of fighting between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military. But it had not been clear when this would take place.
On Thursday, one of the drivers in the convoy told Reuters in the region of Rostov that they had been waiting a long time for permission to cross back into Ukraine.
"My feeling is we've been standing here for too long. Really, too long. We are fed up. We stand here doing nothing, but we need to help people, and we are still here," said Alexei Rabin from Yaroslavl.
Russian authorities said they needed to wait for the International Committee of the Red Cross to inspect the cargo and for the Ukrainian authorities to grant the trucks permission to cross the border.
The first convoy of about 220 trucks rolled into Ukraine on Aug. 22 through a border crossing controlled by the rebels after days of waiting for clearance.
Moscow said the trucks had moved in without Kiev's consent because civilians in areas under siege from Ukrainian government troops were in urgent need of food, water and other supplies. Kiev called the convoy a direct invasion, a stance echoed by NATO, the United States and European leaders.
Eastern Ukraine has been largely quiet in recent days after a ceasefire was agreed last week - part of a peace plan meant to end the five-month conflict that has killed more than 3,000 people and caused the sharpest confrontation between Russia and the West since the Cold War.Last Mod: 13 Eylül 2014, 11:00