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Moscow urges Kiev to prevent commercial blockade of Donbass

"It is high time to stop seeing Donbass residents as enemies," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova Alexander Shcherbak/TASS
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova
© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS

MOSCOW, December 28. /TASS/. Russia is calling on the Ukrainian authorities not take cue from the Ukrainian "veterans" of war in Donbass favoring the commercial blockade of that region, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on Wednesday.

"We are calling on Kiev to prevent this adventure, which could exacerbate the situation, complicated as it is," she noted. "It is high time to stop seeing Donbass residents as enemies. These are the Ukrainian citizens just as people who live in other parts of that country. It is necessary to put an end to the hostilities, sit down at the negotiating table and seek a compromise in a direct and open dialogue." 

According to Zakharova, "the protracted internal Ukrainian crisis can be resolved on this basis only." "This is the cornerstone of the Minsk agreements, and the authorities in Kiev assumed an obligation to strictly comply with them," she noted.

The diplomat added that such proposals "are put forward by those who consider themselves the successors of Nazi criminals like (Stepan) Bandera and (Roman) Shukhevich." "All this indicates that Ukraine has no desire whatsoever to resolve the Donbass conflict by peaceful means," Zakharova said. "If implemented, the planned blockade will, in actual fact, be a continuation of the actions taken by the Ukrainian authorities since 2015 with regard to the country’s southeastern regions."

According to media reports, a number of ex-members of the so-called volunteer battalions, previously involved in the Kiev government’s military operation in the Donbass region, announced a "total blockade of the occupied territories" on Monday. Commenting on the announcement, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, Alexander Turchinov, said the decision can be made by the president alone and ruled out any "improvised cordons" in the area. 

The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics have been under a de-facto blockade since November 15, 2014, when President Pyotr Poroshenko signed a decree to freeze social payments and banking services in the conflict zone. The leaders of the self-proclaimed republics described the move as "an act of genocide." In 2015, the Kiev government prohibited deliveries of all goods to areas outside its control.