LUHANSK, March 23. /TASS/. Trade unions of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) demanded on Monday that Kiev transfer 12 billion hryvnias ($510 million) in wage and social benefit arrears payments.
The trade unions made their demand in a letter addressed to the Ukrainian president and the prime minister. The document was adopted at a meeting of trade unions from 14 cities and districts of the Lugansk People’s Republic.
The letter also contains a demand on Kiev "to lift the economic, social and transport blockade of the LPR" and "ensure the implementation of the Minsk accords not in words but in deeds."
The Ukrainian government halted all social payments "on certain territories" of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics as of December 1, 2014 in accordance with President Petro Poroshenko’s decree and also prohibited banks to service corporate and household accounts.
Meanwhile, the LPR government passed a resolution on switching to a multi-currency system starting March 15 to pay for goods and services with the hryvina, the ruble, the US dollar and the euro.
LPR head Igor Plotnitsky said on March 12 that the republic would stay in the hryvnia zone, if Kiev complied with the Minsk accords.
The Ukrainian government estimates the total number of pensioner refugees in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics known as Donbas at 1.1 million people.
Deputy Maria Ionova from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc pro-government parliamentary faction admitted on March 12 that Ukraine was not making any social payments to Donbass pensioners.
"The government will make these payments as soon as it has access to these districts or when people cross into the territory controlled by the government and register as internally displaced persons," she said.
A delegation of 15 UN humanitarian agencies visited Ukraine on March 12-14 and held, in particular, a meeting with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Gennady Zubko. The delegation insisted that Kiev should fully lift duties on humanitarian aid and discussed the issue of Kiev’s failure to pay pensions in the territories uncontrolled by the government and also spoke for lifting restrictions on the movement of people and the delivery of goods to Donbass.