MOSCOW, November 18. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree on supporting the population of the Donbass region not under Kiev’s control is a purely humanitarian response to Ukraine’s refusal to honor the Minsk accords, Russia’s Authorized Representative in the Contact Group on Settling the Situation in Eastern Ukraine Boris Gryzlov said on Thursday.
"The decree by President of Russia Vladimir Putin ‘On Rendering Humanitarian Assistance to the Population of Separate Districts of the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions of Ukraine’ contributes to overcoming the aggressive economic and humanitarian blockade of Donbass and stabilizing the social and economic situation in the region," the Russian envoy stressed.
"This is a purely humanitarian response to Kiev’s non-fulfillment of the Minsk accords, the economic and transport blockade of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions that has been in place since 2017 and the liberation of the region’s residents from the economic stranglehold created by the Kiev regime," the envoy stressed at Minsk format talks.
As the envoy explained, the decree stipulates equal access of Donbass goods to Russia’s state procurement tenders. It also removes quotas on the movement of goods across the customs border.
"This actually paves the way for the revival and recovery of the Donetsk and Lugansk economies that possess considerable resources and potential in the metals, energy and engineering sectors. This also means closer economic cooperation with Russian regions in compliance with the Package of Measures," Gryzlov stressed.
Simplified customs procedures are intended to utilize Donbass enterprises’ capacity to a greater extent, keep jobs and improve the social and economic conditions of the local population, the envoy explained.
"This means cheaper goods, larger trade volumes and, as a result, a significant rise in the Donbass population’s purchasing power," he said.
The Russian president’s decree "is a forced reply to Kiev’s actions that are intended to escalate the conflict and actually fall under the UN Genocide Convention," Gryzlov pointed out.
The Russian envoy urged the Ukrainian authorities to honor their commitments for settling the situation in eastern Ukraine and bear responsibility for their aggressive actions.
"Ukraine’s deliberate escalation of the conflict is a deadlock with no way out," Gryzlov said.
"We once again call on the Ukrainian delegation to start talks directly with Donetsk and Lugansk on a comprehensive political settlement as soon as possible in compliance with the Minsk accords for establishing peace in Ukraine’s southeast within the shortest time possible," the Russian envoy stressed.
Decree on Donbass support
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on November 15 to provide humanitarian assistance to the population of the Donbass districts uncontrolled by Kiev. The head of state instructed the Russian government to take a series of measures within a month to ease the conditions for admitting goods from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics (DPR and LPR) to the Russian market. The decree stipulates that these goods may take part in state procurement tenders alongside Russian merchandise.
The Russian government has also been instructed to carry out work within a month for validating certificates of the origin of goods issued to businesses actually operating in the DPR and the LPR. As part of the package of support measures, the Russian leader instructed the government to lift qualitative restrictions for the export and import of goods moving to or from these territories across the Russian state border.
Donbass economic blockade
After Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was ousted in a coup in February 2014, mass protests erupted in eastern Ukraine with the predominantly Russian-speaking population. In retaliation, the Kiev regime launched a military operation in Donbass in mid-April that year. Massive bombardments of residential quarters, including with the use of combat planes, led to a large-scale humanitarian disaster in the region.
Kiev unleashed its policy of the Donbass economic blockade in 2014. Starting from December 2014, Ukraine’s government halted all social allowance payments to Donbass pursuant to the Ukrainian president’s decree, including retirement benefits and bank services for accounts held by households and enterprises.
In 2017, following the Ukrainian radicals’ blockade of the traffic of freight trains with coal from Donbass and their demands to halt all trade ties with the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, the Donbass territories decided to introduce external administration at all the Ukrainian enterprises in the region and refocus deliveries on the market of Russia and other countries.
Since March 15, 2017, Kiev has halted all transport communication with the DPR and the LPR by the decision of Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council.