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Kiev’s decision on eastern Ukraine blockade inhuman — Russian upper house speaker

November 19, 2014, 20:41 UTC+3

The economic blockade of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics is an attempt to shift the responsibility for developments in Ukraine’s east to the local authorities and Russia

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Valentina Matviyenko

Valentina Matviyenko

© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

MOSCOW, November 19. /TASS/. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s decree on social and economic blockade of the country’s east is cruel and inhuman, the speaker of the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament, said Wednesday.

“On the one hand, the Ukrainian authorities speak of necessity to retain Ukraine’s territorial integrity, on the other hand, they adopt such decisions, simply pushing part of the population, some regions out of Ukraine,” Valentina Matviyenko told a TASS correspondent.

“This is just madness,” the official said, adding that depriving residents of a large part of Ukraine of social benefits is very harmful for them.

She went on, saying that the economic blockade of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s republics is an attempt to shift the responsibility for developments in Ukraine’s east to the local authorities and Russia.

“We owe nothing to no one. The Ukrainian authorities are fully responsible for what is happening in the territory of the sovereign state of Ukraine,” the senator said.

She advised the Ukrainian authorities to deal with economic and social problems of the country instead of making such decisions.

Late last week, Poroshenko signed a decree that puts into force the decision of the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council of November 4 “On urgent measures to stabilize the social and economic situation in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.”

The decree in particular envisions that the Verkhovna Rada (parliament) will consider the bill on invalidation of the law “On a special procedure of local self-rule in separate districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions” adopted in September.

The document also contains a number of other instructions to various Ukrainian ministries and departments, which relate to the operation of the social and economic structures of Donbass.

Fierce clashes between troops loyal to Kiev and local militias in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions during Kiev’s military operation, conducted since mid-April, to regain control over the breakaway southeastern territories, which call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics, have killed over 4,000 people.

The parties to the Ukrainian conflict agreed on a ceasefire at talks mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on September 5 in Belarusian capital Minsk two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed his plan to settle the situation in the east of Ukraine.

The ceasefire took effect the same day but has reportedly occasionally been violated.

Ukraine’s parliament on September 16 granted a special self-rule status to certain districts in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions for three years.

The Trilateral Contact Group on Ukraine comprising representatives of Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE adopted a memorandum on September 19 in Minsk, which outlined the parameters for the implementation of commitments on the ceasefire in Ukraine laid down in the Minsk Protocol of September 5.

The nine-point document in particular stipulates a ban on the use of all armaments and withdrawal of weapons with the calibers of over 100 millimeters to a distance of 15 kilometers from the contact line from each side. The OSCE was tasked with controlling the implementation of memorandum provisions.

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