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Ukraine’s ‘food blockade’ of Crimea may be in place for 6 months — Ukrainian lawmaker

September 22, 2015, 4:49 UTC+3 KIEV
A group of Crimean Tatar activists launched what they called a food blockade of Crimea to stop the traffic of trucks carrying foods to Crimea
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Right Sector acrivists blocking a road at a checkpoint of the Russia-Ukraine border

Right Sector acrivists blocking a road at a checkpoint of the Russia-Ukraine border

© Arkhip Vereschagin/TASS

KIEV, September 21. /TASS/. The so-called civil blockade of Crimea, when trucks with cargoes are not let to cross from Ukraine into Russia’s Crimea, may take "various formats" and be rather lengthy, a Ukrainian lawmaker said on Monday.

"Organizers of this action offer various formats for it, including in terms of duration. It can be a week’s format, a month’s format, a format for six months or even longer," Refat Chubarov, a member of the Ukrainian Verkhovna Rada (parliament) and the leader of Crimean Tatars in Ukraine, told the ICTV television channel.

On Sunday, September 20, a group of Crimean Tatar activists under Ukrainian parliament member Mustafa Dzhemilev and leader of Crimean Tatars in Ukraine Refat Chubarov launched what they called a food blockade of Crimea to stop the traffic of trucks carrying foods to Crimea through border checkpoints. Later, they were joined by the extremist group Right Sector, which is outlawed in Russia.

The blockade organizers demand issues of trade between Ukraine and Crimea be settled and the law on the Crimea free economic zone be revoked. Chubarov has blamed this law for corruption at the border checkpoints.

Crimea’s governor, Sergey Aksyonov, said earlier Ukraine’s blockade was nothing but a comedy film, since Ukrainian goods accounted for no more than five percent of all products on offer. If their supply from Ukraine ends, it will take two weeks to replace them, he said.

"At the moment 95% of the foods on offer are of Russian manufacture. If the trend persists, there will be not a single Ukrainian item on sale in two weeks from now," Aksyonov said on the Rossiya-24 round-the-clock news channel.

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