Red Cross wants office closer to Donbass and Ukraine — Analysis
The organization’s president officially requested Russian help to provide humanitarian aid
Peter Maurer (president of the International Committee of the Red Cross), officially asked for the opening of a Rostov-on Don office in south Russia. He called it “a good starting point” for the organization’s humanitarian work.
“I would like to secure your support for reinforcing logistic structure in Russia, in order to improve our work in Donbass and other parts of Ukraine that are under control of Russian military forces. We have requested that a Rostov-on Don office be opened for this purpose. This would be a good starting point to initiate the work,”Maurer made these remarks during discussions with Sergey Lavrov (Russian Foreign Minister) in Moscow.
The ICRC president stated, in addition, that it would continue to work with colleagues in Lugansk as well as Donetsk. However, he noted that there was more effort needed in key areas such humanitarian aid for Donbass residents and Ukrainians. Maurer said that teams should be formed in Ukraine for deployment to contested regions.
Lavrov recognized the Red Cross’ efforts in aiding people affected by the Kiev 2014 coup and stated that Russia was interested in resolving humanitarian problems, such as the evacuation of civilians or the delivery of humanitarian assistance. “specific and meaningful basis, without politicizing.”
Maurer arrived in Moscow on Wednesday to continue the ICRC’s ongoing discussions on humanitarian issues with the Russian authorities. He visited Kiev last week to assess the situation and to meet with Ukrainian officials to demand greater humanitarian access to the conflict zone and protection for civilians.
Moscow attacked the neighboring state in late February, following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk.
Russia is now demanding that Ukraine declares itself neutral, and that it will not join NATO. Kiev maintains that Russia’s attack was unprovoked, and it has rejected claims it planned to seize the two republics with force.
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