Donbass-Ukraine direct talks could prompt blockade lifting - Deinego
LUGANSK, June 5 (Lugansk Media Centre) – Direct talks between Kiev and Donbass could get the settlement of the Donbass blockade issue under way, said LPR Foreign Minister Vladislav Deinego.
"Ukraine could settle the issue in pretty soon if Kiev authorities are willing to do it. The blockade was imposed during Poroshenko's presidency as a result of radicals' and nationalists' illegal actions, who received Poroshenko's support. (To lift the blockade) Kiev needs to engage in a direct and meaningful dialog with the People's Republics, as it is prescribed by the Minsk Agreements," Deinego said.
He reminded that the agreements reached in Minsk "clearly stipulate full reconstruction of economic links, social benefits, bank system the reconstruction of which Germany and France said would support.
"That is why we suggest to embark on discussion of this whole bunch of issues directly with Kiev. The format will allow to settle key issues, such as bilateral admittance of industrial and humanitarian shipments, arrangements concerning the management of industrial assets, and the related income and expenditure distribution; building mechanism of retribution payments for damages caused by Ukrainian authorities related to the blockade, including job losses, decrease of salaries, outstanding pensions and social benefits debt."
The blockade was imposed on Donbass in 2014 as Ukraine stopped paying social benefits and pensions in the war zone and banned all banks operations there.
Despite Kiev launching the so-called “anti-terrorist operation” (ATO) and Donbass economic blockade, a number of Ukraine-registered companies continue to operate in the Republics without paying taxes to LPR and DPR budgets. At the same time groups of former participants of the offensive against Donbass, mostly radicalized participants of nationalistic squads, have been blocking railroad stretches in Donbass since the end of January, aiming to interrupt the restoration of communications between Ukraine and the Republics, and interrupting the operation of industrial enterprises.
On February 27, DPR and LPR Heads Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitskiy warned Kiev that the Republics would put Ukraine-registered companies under receivership and halt coal supplies to Ukraine if the transport blockade is not lifted by 1 March.
The issue of railroad connection restoration has been discussed during Contact Group meetings. According to LPR envoy to Minsk talks Vladislav Deinego, the Contact Group economic subgroup said on 15 February that the railway blockade by Kiev was counterproductive and urged it to stop it.
LuganskMediaCentre — 05 June — Lugansk