UNITED NATIONS, December 6. /TASS/. Kiev’s decision to stop paying pensions and other social benefits to the citizens of eastern Ukraine will increase the number of internally displaced people (IDPs), UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric has said.
"On 7 November, Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers adopted a resolution providing for the transfer of state-run institutions and social payments from the regions not currently under government control to government-controlled areas,” Dujarric said.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), also known as the UN refugee agency, is “concerned that this provision will have unintended negative effects, such as increasing internal displacement,” he said.
Although the UN does not have “first-hand information” about the situation in eastern Ukraine, but “there are strong indications that the civilian population in these areas is facing considerable hardship," the spokesman added.
Dujarric declined to comment on the suggestion that Kiev’s economic blockade against Donbass is aimed at punishing people and forcing them to leave the areas controlled by militias.
The UN spokesman said some 514,000 people have been internally displaced by the conflict as of early December. "Hundreds of thousands have fled to Russia and other neighbouring countries," he said.
Dujarric said the UNHCR recently undertook monitoring missions to Russian cities, including Vladivostok and Khabarovsk, in the Far East, to observe the reception conditions for Ukrainians arriving there.
UNHCR spokesman William Spindler earlier told journalists in Geneva the temporary accommodation centers are "well equipped for winter conditions and had adequate schooling and medical facilities.".