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Monday, April 5, 1999 Published at 23:22 GMT 00:22 UK

World: Europe

Russia sends aid to Yugoslavia

Russia says the aid is for everyone suffering in Yugoslavia

Russia is to send more than 600,000 of humanitarian aid to Yugoslavia for "all victims" of the conflict.

Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said the aid is aimed at "all those who are suffering", independent of "nationality or religious disposition".

Kosovo: Special Report
Mr Shoigu said the aid would consist of medicine, food, clothes and tents, and would be sent in two shipments to arrive in Yugoslavia by Friday.

A convoy of 120 trucks carrying the first shipment of aid - 900 tons of food, medicine and clothes - was to leave Russia on Tuesday.

Mr Shoigu said that although the aid would be sent to Belgrade, it would be distributed to refugee camps in various regions, particularly in Montenegro and Macedonia.

Russia receiving aid

Mr Shoigu cited as an example a site in Montenegro where almost 50,000 refugees were living.

"Russia will send children's food, sugar, salt, butter...warm clothing and medical personnel, equipment and mobile hospitals," he said.

It would be distributed with the help of the Yugoslav Health Ministry and the United Nations refugee agency.

Russia, which is receiving food aid from the United States and the European Union, has allocated funds in the budget for emergency situations and these funds would cover the predominantly Russian-made goods, he added.

"Of course Russia needs help as well as other countries," Mr Shoigu said. "But even during the most difficult times for Russia we have offered help to other countries."

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