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Kiev’s human rights envoy calls for social payments to Donbas instead of blockade

June 26, 2015, 19:58 UTC+3 KIEV

It is necessary to work out a complex of measures that will allow people staying in uncontrolled territory to receive social payments, the human rights envoy for Ukraine's parliament insists

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© Valery Sharifulin/TASS

KIEV, June 26. /TASS/. Authorities in Kiev should work out an action plan to ensure social payments to citizens of east Ukraine's war-torn Donbas region instead of tightening its economic blockade, the human rights envoy for Ukraine's parliament said on Friday.

"It is necessary to work out a complex of measures that will allow people staying in uncontrolled territory to receive social payments," Valeriya Lutkovskaya told a conference in Kiev. "I have more than once addressed a proposal to the Ukrainian government to enable evacuation of citizens who want to receive their pensions and organize free travel and accommodation in government-controlled territory," she said.

Ukraine’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has registered a bill on a legal regime in territory beyond Ukrainian government forces’ control. Viktor Medvedchuk, Kiev’s special envoy for humanitarian issues and leader of Ukrainian Choice public organization, says "if the bill passes, the blocked territories will not be receiving essentials, food products and even medicines."

President Petro Poroshenko says tighter border controls are needed to prevent smuggling. But authorities in the self-proclaimed eastern republics of Donetsk and Luhansk do not agree with these plans, saying they contradict terms of peace accords agreements reached in the Belarusian capital Minsk in February.

"The Complex of Measures [to fulfil the Minsk deal] explicitly states that the economic blockade [of Donetsk and Luhansk regions] should be lifted unconditionally and with no strings attached," said Vladislav Deinego, the Luhansk republic’s envoy to the Trilateral Contact Group of senior representatives from Ukraine, Russia and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Kiev was to establish control over the border "only after [local] elections are held", Deinego said, referring to Point Nine of the February "complex" signed by leaders of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France.

This said "reinstatement of full control of the state border by the government of Ukraine throughout the conflict area" should "start on day one after local elections and end after the comprehensive political settlement."

The deal also noted that the entire process should be carried out "with and upon agreement by representatives of certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the framework of the Trilateral Contact Group".

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