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KIEV, April 26. /TASS/. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Sunday recent coal miners’ protests were paid actions.
"Coal miners’ rallies were paid up. There is a political component here," Yatsenyuk told the Ukrainian television Channel 5. "Any attempted strikes should be nipped in the bud."
He said a part of the wage arrears to miners had already been repaid. He noted that the Kiev authorities controlled only 35 out of 90 coal mines across the country, with the rest being located on the territories of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR, respectively). "But we have very few efficient mines. So, a key question is coal pricing. We cannot afford to pay a high price. It is cheaper for us to close loss-making mines than to subsidize them," he said.
This week, Ukrainian coal miners stages several protest rallies in Kiev and announced an open-ended strike demanding repayment of delayed wages and resignation of Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Vladimir Demchishin.
Earlier, President Pyotr Poroshenko said there were forces seeking use miners’ protests in their selfish interests and called on the authorities not to let them do that. "It is advantageous for some indecent political forces and certain oligarchs," he said, adding he had instructed law enforcement agencies to bring to answer those responsible.
However the president admitted that miners had a right to express their protest. He said he had ordered to amend the budget to allocate 400 million hryvnias (17.7 million U.S. dollars) to repay wage arrears to miners.