LUGANSK, September 6 (Lugansk Media Centre) - The Lugansk People’s Republic Culture, Sport and Youth Ministry has cancelled the Art Forte youth festival as the State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) threatened potential participants from Kiev-controlled areas of the Lugansk region, an official said on Thursday.
“We planned to hold the Art Forte open republican musical youth festival under the aegis of the Donbass people reunification humanitarian programme on September 9,” LPR Culture, Sport and Youth deputy minister Andrey Kostyunin said at a press briefing at the Lugansk Media Centre. “We received some 30 applications from musicians; of those one-third came from Kiev-controlled parts of the Lugansk region.”
“Today, however, we have to officially cancel the festival due to Ukrainian authorities’ deliberate resistance to any attempts to consolidate people disunited by war,” Kostyunin said.
He said that Art Forte was “expected to be another step towards rapprochement between people living in the Lugansk region on different sides of the contact line.”
“For six weeks, the potential participants in the electronic and rock music festival living on the other side of the contact line were subjected to tough pressure and threats by the SBU,” Kostyunin said.
As it is unclear today whether Ukraine will reopen the Stanitsa Luganskaya crossing point as promised, the participation of musicians from Kiev-held area might not be possible, he added.
“Obviouisly, the Ukrainian authorities perceive our humanitarian programme as a real threat to themselves since they make such efforts to foil it,” the deputy minister said.
Earlier, the LPR Ministry invited young rock musicians and electronic music performers, including those from Kiev-held areas, to take part in the Art Forte festival.
On February 17, 2017 the DPR and LPR heads approved the program of humanitarian assistance to residents in the Kiev-controlled part of Donbass. The main goal of the programme is to support socially vulnerable groups in Kiev-held areas. It envisions financial and medical aid and education services.
The LPR Telecom and Mass Communications Ministry launched the humanitarian programme website.