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Ukraine 'buffer area' tense

September 20, 2014

Despite preparations for the newly-agreed 'buffer area,' Russia appears to be straining new peace plans after sending a third convoy to the Ukraine border. Explosions continue to be heard around rebel-held Donetsk.

Dritter russischer Hilfskonvoi in Ostukraine eingetroffen 20.9.2014
Image: AFP/Getty Images

A third Russian convoy of around 170 Russian trucks carrying 2000 tons of aid arrived at the Ukraine border on Saturday, despite pro-Russian separatists and representatives from both the Russian and Ukrainian governments agreeing an artillery buffer zone earlier on Saturday morning in the Belarusian capital of Minsk.

A spokesman for Russia's emergencies ministry confirmed that the convoy, carrying electricity generators, water and food had "arrived and is being unloaded" in the Ukrainian rebel-held city of Donetsk, adding that the convoy had been sent across the Ukrainian border unaccompanied by any international or Kyiv government monitors.


Russia's previous two aid convoys in August and earlier this month caused outrage in Kyiv after they too were sent to the rebel-held Lugansk region without the final agreement of Ukraine and Red Cross monitors.

Ukraine officials say there was no prior warning of Saturday's convoy, but Russian state television channel Rossiya 24 said the precise route had remained secret until the last minute for security reasons.

'Buffer area'

Earlier on Saturday, both sides agreed to move heavy weapons 15 kilometers (9 miles) away from the front line on each side, effectively creating a 30 kilometer buffer area.

However, explosions continued to be heard into Saturday morning, with municipal authorities reporting that amunitions and industrial explosives plant had been hit.

Further explosions were also heard from the direction of Ukraine's main international airport which Ukrainian government forces continue to cling on to.

ksb/shs (Reuters, ASP, AP, dpa)

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