Restoring Donbas: main events during the 23-29 March
3:19 / 31 Mar. 2015 / 375
Last week, electronic pass-entry system in ATO area, new price spike (on food) in LNR and DNR, possible forwarding of peacekeeping troops to the East of Ukraine – became the most resonant news. During the ceasefire regime, local military confrontations between the Ukrainian military and gunmen in Mariupol area (particular, in Shirokino village) still proceed.
Electronic pass-entry system in ATO area
This week, it was planned to launch the electronic pass-entry system in ATO area in Donbas. Under this procedure, the formalization of passes should be organized via e-mail – it is necessary to send electronic request with scan copies of your documents to the focal points. All information, which was received through the Internet, will be included in a special unified registry. Thus, according to the speaker of the Security Service of Ukraine, paper passes will be canceled and people will cross the boundary line due to presence of their data in the electronic registry.
According to experts of the community initiative “Restoring Donbas”, the implementation of a new passing system does not simplify the submission of documents and control over the movement of citizens, and vice versa. It will create new complications for the residents of Donbas. In particular, in case of absence of electricity or the Internet at checkpoints, as well as defaults of the software, checkpoint’s work will be paralyzed. In such situations, people will have no documents, which confirm their right to pass the border due to the fact that all paper passes will be withdrawn.
Electronic pass-entry system has been examined in a test mode. Moreover, it should have been launched on March 25. However, Valentin Nalyvaychenko, the chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine stated that the launch of the system was delayed due to technical difficulties. A new date for system release was not mentioned.
Statements of the Ukrainian authorities in Donbas
This week, representatives of Ukrainian authorities in Donbas made several statements that are important for the residents of uncontrolled territories and displaced persons. Thus, Donetsk military-civilian administration reported that in order to obtain civil acts for residents of ATO area, they must have only Ukrainian seal through the papers. State administration explained that in order to register the death of a person, who died on the uncontrolled territory, relatives have to receive an appropriate enquiry with Ukrainian seal. Alexander Garkusha, the head of territorial Department of Justice, emphasized that in case of presence of DNR seal, death certificate will not be given. The same applies to the registration of birth.
In addition, Alexander Kikhtenko, the chairman of Donetsk military and civil administration, ordered to ban the sale of alcoholic and soft drinks to the military. Kikhtenko summoned the relevant authorities to “mercilessly deny the license and carry out draconian inspections” concerning the points that sell alcohol to the military.
In addition, this week the Pension Fund of the Donetsk region reminded that immigrants may lose social benefits in the case of giving false information about the actual place of residence. Officials stated that in case of inconsistency of data on place of residence during the inspection (carried out by the State Migration Service), it will be decided to terminate pension payments from next month.
The press service of the Donetsk Regional State Administration stated that Slavic TPP has been launched after the 279 days of inactivity.
The situation on the uncontrolled territories
One more important economic event took place last week on uncontrolled territories in Donbas. March 24 it became known that Enakievo Steel and its affiliate in Makeyevka resumed its work. Launching became possible after the restoration of a stable rail link and the organization of regular supply of raw materials.
In addition, it became known that despite the uncertain legal status of the self-proclaimed DNR, Auchan (large French retailer) did not close its hypermarket in Donetsk. In early 2015, the store changed its legal entity. According to media reports, two members of the Auchan hypermarket told reporters that it was “DNR legal entity.”
Meanwhile, “republic’s government” obliged all stores and supermarkets to specify prices on goods in UAH and rubles. Thus, it was launched multi-currency system, which has been announced previously. According to media, after such innovations, prices have risen by almost a third. However, another reason (which was mentioned) for the rising cost on goods – is strengthening the blockade delivery of goods through Ukrainian checkpoints.
Several important infrastructure developments occurred on uncontrolled territories last week. Thus, mail service between DNR and LNR has been launched. In addition, unrecognized republics established rail link along the route Donetsk-Luhansk. Passenger train has started to run. Rail connection links between Lugansk and Yasinovataya is still restoring.
Despite of some positive changes in the economy of LNR / DNR, local “authorities” cannot stabilize the situation with social payments. Thus, salaries and social aid debt amounts to about 1 billion hryvnia in LNR.
International assistance to Donbas and statements of European officials
Last week, plethora news about international support of Donbas and displaced persons from Eastern Ukraine came from the United Nations. Last week Organizational Development in United Nations announced that it intends to provide 316 million euros of macro-financial assistance for Ukraine macro-financial assistance to overcome the consequences of the war in Donbas. UNDP funds can go to Ukraine by the end of April – during the big international conference in support of reforms in Ukraine.
Also, United Nations Development Programme intends to allocate more than $ 2 million to create jobs for displaced persons from the ATO zone. It was stated in the press service of the organization. Authorities, private and public institutions, as well as public organizations can apply for participation. The UN will also provide an opportunity for displaced persons to get new profession. It was claimed by Helen Clark, the Deputy Secretary-General.
Among the European officials, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister, actively commented the situation in Donbas. He claimed that the UN peacekeeping mission in Ukraine is possible, but it takes a lot of time for organizing. Therefore, the international community must rely on that observers, who are already in Eastern Ukraine, namely – on the OSCE. Also, Steinmeier summoned the parties of the conflict to cease hostilities immediately in Donbas and expressed concern related to the escalation of the conflict (referring to the situation near Shirokino).
Meanwhile, the OSCE mission claimed that it had not received full information about the withdrawal of military equipment from Donbas. Alexander Hug , the head of OSCE Mission in Ukraine, told the media that the parties of the conflict in Donbas did not grant relevant data for special monitoring mission of the OSCE.