DONETSK, May 22. /TASS/. The Pyotr Poroshenko regime’s policies in Donbass are to blame for heavy loss of human life which Donbass has not seen since World War II, the leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharchenko, said on Tuesday at a session of the Ukrainian People’s Tribunal probing into the Poroshenko regime’s crimes against Ukrainian civilians.
"The current events are the worst tragedy our land has seen since World War II," the Donetsk News Agency quotes Zakharchenko as saying.
Zakharchenko described the war in Donbass as genocide. He explained he was referring not only to the use of military force against civilians, but also the financial, economic and transport blockades and the deliberate measures to deny means of living to local residents.
"Pensions have been reduced systematically since 2014. At a certain point they stopped to be paid altogether. At the moment Ukraine pays no social benefits. All benefits available in the territory of the Donetsk Republic’s territory are funded by the DPR itself," he said. "The metallurgical enterprises that we have put under external administration are a chance to earn a living for 150,000-180,000 - the employees and their families. All these people were faced with the risk of going broke and being unable to send their children to school."
About Ukraine’s law on so-called reintegration of Donbass Zakharchenko said it was an attempt by the Ukrainian authorities to excuse themselves for the massive death of civilians. According to the latest statistics available from the office of the DPR human rights commissioner, Darya Morozova, Ukrainian bombardments of the territories beyond Kiev’s control have left 4,626 dead since the beginning of the conflict.
"Tensions along the engagement line have been soaring and, given the frequency of bombardments and attempts to put the strength of our positions to test, I believe that Ukraine is getting ready for another offensive," Zakharchenko said.
In the middle of last March a group of Ukrainian citizens residing in Donetsk and Lugansk came out with an initiative of creating a Ukrainian People’s Tribunal to investigate the Poroshenko regime’s war crimes. All cases are being considered on the basis of Ukrainian legislation and international law. The tribunal has already held sessions devoted to such issues as genocide, Donbass blockade, war propaganda, torture, robbery and brigandage, creation of armed gangs and the use of armed forces against civilians.
The tribunal brought charges against Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, National Security and Defense Council Alexander Turchinov, Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman, Chief of the General Staff Viktor Muzhenko, Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak, Verkhovna Rada Speaker Andrei Parubiy and former prime minister, Arseny Yatsenyuk.