About 32 tons of food, including chocolate, salami and dried fruit were shipped to Moscow on Friday as Germans mobilized to help the Soviet Union battle winter shortages.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the government had also offered to send the Soviets $73 million worth of food parcels from army stocks.As the first planeload of donated food from Germany was distributed to orphanages and children's hospitals, the generosity spread in other Western nations. Vienna promised 100,000 food parcels for Moscow children, and organizations in the United States, Italy and the Nordic countries prepared shipments of milk, flour, canned goods and other staples.
In Leningrad, Pravda reported, ambulances have been collecting victims of fainting from hunger, heart attacks and broken ribs from the lines outside shops.
The price of carrots doubled as citizens braced for Saturday's start of Leningrad's first rationing program since World War II. Then, it was besieged by Nazi forces for 900 days and hundreds of thousands died, many from hunger.
The cities of Chelyabinsk and Nizhny Novgorod, formerly called Gorky, also were to start rationing food Saturday.
Bonn has already promised the Soviets foodstuffs and medical supplies stored up by officials fearing a repeat of the 1948-49 Berlin Blockade, when Soviet leader Josef Stalin tried to starve the city.
A convoy of tractor-trailers, smaller trucks and vans from the German Red Cross left the organization's central warehouse in nearby Meckhenheim Friday morning carrying 5,000 supply packages.
German Red Cross president Botho zu Sayn-Wittgenstein said he expected the food to arrive in the Soviet capital in about four days.