Restoring Donbas: main events during the 11-17 May
11:53 / 18 May. 2015 / 348
The situation in Donbas is still difficult. The territories beyond the control have problems with the product’s supply. On the territories, which are controlled by Ukraine, there are breaches of the law by military, lack of insulin even in big cities (such as Mariupol) and unsolved problems related to prisoners. The pass-entry system in ATO area becomes more complicated. However, humanitarian aid keeps on running. Late week Donbas topic was discussed by representatives of the United States, Germany and the Russian Federation. More details – in our weekly review of key news.
IDPs from Donbas
Number of displaced persons from Donbas and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea has increased to 854 thousand 474 people during this week. In particular, the number of IDPs from the Donetsk and Lugansk regions is 833 thousand 881 people (17 people per day). Among them, there are 148.84 thousand children,
400.46 thousand – are persons with disabilities and the elderly.
Meanwhile, during this week, the Accounting Chamber has detected irregularities connected with monthly-targeted assistance for payment for housing and accommodation of Ukrainian citizens, who have moved from the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine and ATO area. An inspection demonstrated that the funds from the state budget, which were allocated during October-December 2014 and January and February 2015, were used with violation of the requirements for the procedure of issuance of certificate of registration of displaced persons and the procedure for granting financial aid to such people.
Last week, the Security Service announced changings in procedure of entrance/departure from the uncontrolled territory. Ukravtodor created a route avoiding uncontrolled territories of Donetsk region. Thus, Yuriy Lutsenko, the head of the faction “Block Poroshenko”, called for further strengthening of pass-entry system along demarcation line in Donbas.
In addition, there is a blockade of the attempts to transport loads on uncontrolled territory. Thus, more than 200 trucks, which were trying to import food, alcohol and tobacco without the proper documents to uncontrolled territories, were detained by police and Security Service near the ATO checkpoint.
The situation in Luhansk region even worse. Namely, Gennady Moskal , the Chairman of the military and civilian administration, has banned the movement of all vehicles, except for humanitarian aid, through the demarcation line.
Meanwhile, a special monitoring mission of the OSCE carried out the monitoring in the period from January to April this year.
Its results demonstrated that the pass-entry system limits the ability of people to leave the area of the conflict. “The capacity of the pass-entry system is significantly burdened by the requirements for the application …” – was noted in the organization.
On uncontrolled territories
Last week, statements of representatives of DNR and LNR demonstrated that they are ready to leave territories, which are under their control. However, on their own terms. Thus, DNR consent to the wide autonomy without prejudice to its interests. It was announced by Denis Pushilin, so-called “vice-speaker of the DNR National Council”. Wherein “DNR” offers to add an article in the Ukrainian constitution providing other regions of Ukraine by the right to self-determination. In addition, DNR and LNR sent to the Constitutional Commission and the tripartite contact group their proposals on changing the provisions of Constitution of Ukraine about non-aligned status of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the situation on the uncontrolled territories of Donbas remains complicated. Luhansk stores started having problems with the products after the ban of cars moving to the LNR. The shelves are not empty yet, but the food prices have risen by 10-30% in the past two days. According to the distributors, it is impossible to import goods through the territory of DNR. In addition, according to the users of social networks, one of the largest supermarket chains “Brusnichka” that operates on uncontrolled territories of Donbas is planning to close.
At the same time, Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers does not lose interest in the uncontrolled territories. Last week, the government approved the offering for sale more than 25 state-owned mines in 2015. Among them, there are 15 mines, which are located on the uncontrolled territory.
In addition, on May 16-18 in Svyatogorsk (Donetsk region) it was held a meeting between representatives of local authorities of region’s cities, which are beyond the Ukrainian control. The meeting was organized with the help of the “Initiative of crisis management» (Crisis Management Initiative, CMI) and was devoted to the possibility to resolve the conflict.
On Donbas territory, which is controlled by Ukraine
The situation on the territory of “Ukrainian Donbas” is also complicated. This week the media reported that there is a lack of insulin in Mariupol. The last delivery of insulin from the state budget in Mariupol was in December.
The lives of nearly 2,400 people in Donbas are under the threat due to the delaying of evacuation from the frontline towns. Among these people, there are children and the elderly, who are under the state care in social, educational and medical institutions, as well as prisoners in correctional centers and colonies of Mariupol. It was stated made by Yuri Belousov, the representative of the Ombudsman last week.
In addition, it was reported that the office of the Ombudsman examines violations of the human rights by Ukrainian military in ATO zone. “Such information is available not only for us. It is also mentioned in the report of the UN mission on Human Rights. These issues are studied in the framework of the open proceedings of the Commissioner for Human Rights “, – said the Ombudsman
It also became known that the number of unemployed has increased in areas near ATO zone.
Since the beginning of the year, 5.2 thousand people appealed to employment centers of the Donetsk region. 4.4 thousand people (out of the total number of applicants) had the right of the payment of unemployment benefits. According to official statistics, 468 people were employed, 42 people opened their own business with the obtaining a lump sum of unemployment benefits.
The statement of Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of USA, that United States are ready to strengthen their participation in the resolving the situation in the East of Ukraine became an important news. According to Victoria Nuland, the intensification of US involvement is carried out in close coordination with the EU and international organizations.
In addition, this week John Kerry, US Secretary, stated that Washington would be very concerned if the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko resumed military actions on the territory of Ukraine. “If the President Poroshenko really advocates for the beginning of new force operations, we will ask him to think twice before taking such action, because the Minsk agreement will be under serious threat”. It was claimed by Kerry after negotiations with Sergey Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, and President Vladimir Putin in Sochi.
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, also met with President Vladimir Putin. At the meeting, she noted that the holding of local elections in the East of Ukraine should lead to the establishment of a full border control. In addition, Merkel urged the representatives of DNR to let humanitarian aid in the Ukrainian Donbas.
Meanwhile, Petro Poroshenko in Germany discussed with the EU leaders issues of introduction of a peacekeeping operation under the auspices of the UN Security Council and European Union. It was stated at a briefing on the military range “Desna” in the Chernihiv region.
On Thursday, March 14, evaluative mission of the European Union began its work on analysis of the situation in the East of Ukraine. In addition, it was reported that Ertugrul Apakan, the Chairman of the special monitoring mission of the OSCE in Ukraine, and observers from the headquarters in Kiev, would visit a number of localities in Donbas.
International assistance to the Donbas
The humanitarian situation in the region remains complicated. Official Kiev still does not deliver “humanitarian aid” to the uncontrolled territory. They believe that fighters from “republic” refuse to let it in. Despite this practice, 15 trucks, which arrived to Donetsk from Switzerland, delivered 300 tons of water purification products. Chemicals, mainly aluminum sulphate, needed to treat potable water, which is supplied to the population by both sides of the demarcation line.
German government proceed to provide humanitarian aid to Donbas. Thus, on May 12, the truck with humanitarian aid got a move on from the Vyshnevoe city (Kiev region) to Donbas. Last week, Norway allocated 5 million euros for humanitarian aid to displaced people from the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.
UN also provide assistance to region. For instance, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) gave per 100 kg of potatoes for planting in home gardens to villagers from Donetsk. On 11 and 12 May, the families from the three districts of Donetsk region could get potatoes. 500 families from Artemovsk region, 200 – from Slavic and 150 – from Constantine regions obtained potatoes. Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with the Service of the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection has delivered humanitarian aid to more than 84 thousand people, including 46 thousand children in Donbas. In particular, 15 thousand on controlled and 23 thousand people on uncontrolled territories were provided by hygiene items.