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MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Kiev’s total debt on social payments to residents of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) known as Donbas exceeds 33 billion hryvnia ($1.4 billion), Donbas authorities said on Monday.
"Ukraine’s debt on pensions and social benefits to the population of the LPR accumulated since last summer when these payments were halted stands at 12 billion hryvnia," LPR Finance Minister Yevgeny Mikhailov said at a session of the committee for public support to residents of south-east Ukraine in the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament.
Meanwhile, DPR Finance Minister Yekaterina Matyushchenko said Ukraine’s social payment debt to Donetsk residents stood at 21.5 billion hryvnia.
Despite this, the DPR authorities have found resources to pay out pensions in the self-proclaimed republic, Matyushchenko added.
"The average pension is 1,800 hryvnia while the subsistence level is 1,300 hryvnia," she noted.
The self-proclaimed Luhansk People’s Republic has started paying out pensions on its controlled territory, LPR State Bank Head Dmitry Chaikin told the Lugansk News Agency on April 3.
Pension payouts started in the republic’s capital of Luhansk through the State Bank’s offices, he said.
The LPR authorities informed local residents in advance that wages and pensions could be paid in rubles, hryvnia, euros and US dollars, if hryvnia cash stocks were not sufficient.
"In order to mitigate the consequences of the economic blockade, the LPR authorities are temporarily switching to the regime of multi-currency payments. During the blockade, pensions, allowances and wages could be paid in hryvnia, rubles, euros and dollars," LPR Head Igor Plotnitsky said earlier.
The Luhansk People’s Republic is located in the Donbas industrial and coal-mining region in southeast Ukraine. The LPR proclaimed its sovereignty in April last year along with the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) after the Kiev authorities announced the launch of large-scale military operations in the region in an attempt to quell local protests.
The Luhansk and Donetsk regions proclaimed the establishment of the Luhansk and Donetsk People’s Republics after local referendums in May last year. The LPR and DPR later signed an agreement on uniting the regions into the Novorossiya Union of People’s Republics.