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DONETSK, November 24 (Itar-Tass) — Chernobyl cleanup veterans continue a hunger strike in front of the edifice of the Donetsk regional department of the Ukrainian Pension Fund, demanding the payment of pensions and benefits in the amount determined by court decisions.
Participants in the strike confirmed on Thursday their bid to continue it despite the decision of the Donetsk district administrative court satisfying the claim of the Donestsk City Council to ban the protest action.
The tent camp of protesters will not be liquidated by force, Donetsk Mayor Alexander Lukyanchenko pledged. Ukrainian government’s decision to double pensions to Chernobyl cleanup veterans and to make additional payments on medical grounds starting from January 1, has not influenced protesters’ decision.
They insist on bigger sums, amounting to dozens or hundreds of thousands of grivnas, in accordance with in court judgments. However, the government stated unequivocally that having paid these amounts, Ukraine would fully exhaust the Pension Fund.
“Last night was calm in the tent camp. Only it was very cold – minus ten degrees Celsius,” one of the leaders of the action, Vladimir Derkach said. He said 41 Chernobyl cleanup veterans take part in the hunger strike, and nobody has been hospitalized. All in all, ambulances evacuated from the tent camp 85 protesters in the past ten days.
However, according to the first deputy head of the Donetsk region’s healthcare department, Tamara Tsyvanok, only eight of them were hospitalized. The condition of two has already improved and they have been discharged from hospital. Two more patients are in a moderately grave condition, while the rest are in a satisfactory condition, she added.