Third Russian aid convoy arrives in east Ukraine

MOSCOW - Russia has delivered a third shipment of aid to rebel-controlled Ukraine, sending trucks carrying water and food across the border, a spokesman for Russia's emergencies ministry said on Saturday.

"The convoy has arrived and is being unloaded" in the rebel-controlled city of Donetsk, spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky told AFP.

He said the convoy - the first aid shipment to the flashpoint city of Donetsk - had been sent across the state border unaccompanied by any international or Kiev government monitors.

Russia has previously sent two aid convoys to the rebel-held Lugansk region without the final agreement of Ukraine and Red Cross monitors, sparking outrage in Kiev.

Russian state channel Rossiya 24 said the convoy of some 200 vehicles carried electricity generators, water and food. The channel said the convoy's precise route had been kept secret until the last minute for security reasons.

Russia first sent an aid convoy of more than 200 trucks in August without the final agreement of Ukraine and Red Cross monitors.

The second Russian humanitarian aid shipment was delivered earlier this month.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Ukraine's war-battered east are suffering from shortages of basic supplies, a lack of running water and power due to widespread destruction from heavy shelling.

The European-brokered ceasefire sealed on September 5 has scaled back the fighting across eastern Ukraine but deadly shelling and gunfire is reported almost daily around Donetsk.