KIEV, June 6. /TASS/. Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) Martin Sajdik has confirmed the existence of an economic blockade of the Donbass region.
"When we, representatives of the OSCE in the Trilateral Contact Group, use the term "blockade", we mean it as a wide package of measures applied by all sides of the conflict," he said on Thursday in an interview with the 112 Ukraine TV channel.
Sajdik added that OSCE representatives "have always expressed their regret that all restrictive measures implemented since March 2017 have made a negative contribution, expanding the gap between the sides of the conflict, namely, the citizens living on both sides of the line of contact. We have always called for an end to this trend inside the country, and for a return to the situation preceding March 2017."
Earlier on Thursday, Ukraine’s Envoy to the Contact Group for the settlement in eastern Ukraine Leonid Kuchma stated that he does not recognize Kiev’s blockade of Donbass. According to Kuchma, there is only a temporary ban on the transit of good through the line of contact in Donbass.
Mass protests broke out in eastern Ukraine, mostly populated by Russian-speaking citizens, following a coup d’etat in Ukraine in February 2014 and President Viktor Yanukovich’s ouster. In mid-April of the same year, Kiev’s authorities launched a military operation in Donbass in response. Heavy shelling of residential areas, including the use of aviation, caused large-scale humanitarian disaster in the region. According to the UN, more than 10,000 people have been killed in the armed conflict and over 20,000 have been injured.
Simultaneously, Kiev introduced a full blockade of the region, severing all economic ties. The Ukrainian authorities stopped paying social benefits to the citizens of the territories not under their control.