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Experts: Ukrainian authorities are obliged to pay pensions to Donbas residents

April 06, 2015, 17:15 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, April 6. /TASS/. The Ukrainian authorities’ reluctance to pay pensions and social benefits to the people of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics by no means corresponds with the Ukrainian Constitution and is a violation of the agreements the Normandy Quartet achieved in Minsk on February 12, polled experts have told TASS.

The package of measures to implement the Minsk Accords envisages full restoration of Ukraine’s socio-economic bonds with the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, including the payment of pensions. On Thursday, Kiev’s administrative court of appeal declared void the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers’ decision to make social payments in the Donetsk and Luhansk republics only in the territories under the Kiev authorities’ control. The government is going to appeal the verdict.

Russian presidential press-secretary Dmitry Peskov told Associated Press in an interview that Kiev by no means sought to restore the operation of financial and social services in Donbas. On Saturday, April 4, the leaders of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics asked the guarantors of the Minsk Accords, Chancellor Angela Merkel, of Germany, and President Francois Hollande, of France, to resume the payment of social benefits to the people of Donbas. In the meantime, the people of both Donetsk and Luhansk republics have been sending lawsuits to the European Court of Human Rights.

"All people of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics are citizens of Ukraine. By denying pensions and other social benefits the Ukrainian executive authorities violate all legal norms that under the Constitution are applicable to all of the country’s citizens without exception. Alongside this, a ruling by a court of law in a democratic country is mandatory for all bodies of power," the lawyer of the Inter-Regional Board of Lawyers "Klishin and Partners," Vladimir Entin, has told TASS.

"Kiev’s refusal to pay pensions and grants to the people of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics is tantamount to reprisals of certain social groups, which have found themselves below the survival line. Such actions by the Kiev authorities against the Donbas people may entail genocide, and genocide is an international crime not liable to the statute of limitations. Should they go ahead with such policies, the Ukrainian authorities will lose legitimacy," Entin said.

"The authorities in Kiev have been saying in public that they are not going to support "separatists" in the Donetsk and Luhansk republics. This indicates that Kiev may resume the financing of civilians in Donbas only after military control has been established over its territory. But if the Donetsk and Luhansk republics fail to return to Ukraine’s jurisdiction, Kiev will not have to comply with its social obligations. Possibly, this is what Kiev counts on," the president of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, has told TASS.

"Possibly, Kiev hopes that Russia will undertake to pay the social benefits to the people of Donbas. After all, Moscow has already dispatched to the Donetsk and Luhansk republics two dozen humanitarian convoys with tens of thousands of tons of foodstuffs, medical supplies and building materials. Moreover, since Kiev terminated gas supplies to Donbas Russia has tapped its own reserves to provide the fuel to both the Donetsk and Luhansk republics. Possibly, Kiev is expecting assistance from the United Nations. In other words, the Ukrainian authorities hope that somebody else would agree to restore the Donbas economies and infrastructures ruined during the so-called "anti-terrorist operation" and to feed and finance the local people. But nobody will relieve Kiev of this responsibility," the director of the Strategic Evaluations and Analyses Institute, Sergey Oznobishchev, has told TASS.

"I see a solution in efforts by the diplomats and leaders of the Normandy Quartet to detail and implement the Minsk Accords concerning the full restoration of Ukraine’s social and economic bonds with the Donetsk Republic and Luhansk Republic. The Minsk Accords have achieved the most important result — the cessation of large-scale hostilities. Time is ripe to move forward, towards a political and economic settlement of the crisis," Oznobishchev said.

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