Restoring Donbas: main events during the 18-24 May
18:56 / 25 May. 2015 / 333
The situation in Donbas remains complicated – economic state of the regions, which are beyond the control, deteriorates. Two large companies – supermarket network “Brusnichka” and petrol stations “Parallel” announced its closure last week. One of the most disputed news became Amnesty International statement about the use of torture among the POWs from the both sides. According to sociological research by SI “Institute of Regional Studies. M.I.Dolishnego NASU, “it was reported that more than 60% of IDPs from Donbas cannot find a job in a new place. More details in our weekly review of key news.
On the territory of the unrecognized republics
Last week, news that Verkhovna Rada adopted a statement of retreat from certain obligations under the Convention on Human Rights “until complete cessation of armed aggression” (such measures are provided by international law due to initiated aggression) was resonant by its nature. The corresponding decision was supported by 249 MPs. Thus, the Ukrainian parliament removed the responsibility from itself, which is associated with the violation of human rights on the uncontrolled territory of Donbas. According to Yuriy Boiko, “Opposition bloc”, such decision deprives Ukrainian citizens the right to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.
In addition, a coalition of the Verkhovna Rada stated that the local elections on the uncontrolled territory of Donbas could not be carried out. In particular, it was stated by Alexander Chernenko, MP from the faction “Petro Poroshenko Bloc”.
“… The position is when ATO is finished, these areas will be under the Ukrainian control and we will choose the full power. Nowadays, there are civil-military administrations, which cope with current affairs “, – he said.
Meanwhile, the economic situation on the territories beyond the Ukrainian control got a serious hit, namely: two large companies – “Ukrainian Retail” (“Brusnichka” supermarkets) and petrol stations “Parallel” – part of the business structure of Rinat Akhmetov, announced the suspension of work in the territory of Donetsk and all other towns of the Donetsk region, which are beyond the control of the Ukrainian authorities.
Both companies played an important role in providing of life activity. Plethora supermarkets and petrol stations (in DNR and LNR) experienced serious difficulties with the supply of goods. Some of them suffered from huge losses. For instance, ATB shops, which were closed on all uncontrolled territory of Donbas, had losses 7 billion UAH during ATO.
On Donbas territory, which is controlled by Ukraine
The industrial production index has increased on the Donetsk region, which is under Ukrainian control.
It was reported by the Main Department of Statistics in the Donetsk region. During April 2015 comparing to March 2015, production growth reached 5.6%. At the same time, coal mining in the region during January-April 2015 comparing to the same period last year, decreased by more than half – from 56.5% – to 8.7 million tons. On the background, the State Fiscal Service reported that Ukraine in January-April 2015 imported coal and anthracite for a total amount of $ 548,431,000. The largest suppliers of coal in January-April 2015 were Russia, the US and Australia.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government does not get a move on resolving problems associated with the restoration of Donbas. Thus, the government has not yet allocated the necessary funds for the work of the Agency to restore the Donbas. The costs for the activities of the State Agency of Ukraine for the restoration of Donbas were not provided by a separate budget program in the state budget of Ukraine for 2015. It was stated by the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine.
In this case, official Kiev keeps on staying a course for further complete separation from the uncontrolled territories. This week the Verkhovna Rada has changed the boundaries of Mariupol and two districts of Donetsk region. MPs decided to “change the boundaries of Mariupol, Volnovakha, Novoazovskiy and Telmanovskiy areas until the transition of uncontrolled settlements in Donetsk region under the control of public authorities and local governments”.
Last week, Alexander Kikhtenko, the head of the Donetsk regional military-civilian administration, once again stated that the pass-entry system on the demarcation line of the parties in ATO area is ineffective. “The current system force a lot of Donetsk residents to queue up for dozens of hours. In fact, checks last much longer than it is established by law. That is why people cannot exercise their constitutional right of free movement and to visit friends and relatives, who live on uncontrolled territories”, – he said.
Other news related to the pass-entry system in ATO area justify the accuracy of such opinion. For instance, law enforcement officers incriminated employee of the City Council to receive a bribe last week in Mariupol. The investigators found that women offered her services in obtaining passes of IDPs, as well as passes in ATO area and demanded monetary compensation for it. Improper benefit was about 5,000 hryvnia.
In addition, last week in Donetsk region border guards detained a woman, who tried to transport across the demarcation line of ATO zone, plethora of passports, credit cards and money. During the check, border guards have found 10 Ukrainian passports of different persons, 75 cards of several banks and funds in the amount of 155,400 UAH under the seat in the car. The border guards “sent” this woman for further verification to Security Service of Ukraine. Let us remind that Valery Chabanenko, the blogger of the initiative “Restoration of Donbas”, previously wrote that cashing of salaries’ and pension’s bank card in unrecognized republics became a business. It is very often that the only option for withdrawal money from an account for residents of uncontrolled territories is to send a trustee with all pin codes and cards on the Ukrainian territory. Users of social networks also reported about such schemes under during financial blockade.
Displaced persons from Donbas
According to the Ministry of Social Policy, 1.29 million displaced persons from Donbas and Crimea are registered on the territory under Ukrainian control. According to agencies, 303,000 families obtained allowance.
The situation with employment and finding accommodation for displaced persons remains intricate. Thus, this week it became known that 60% IDPs cannot find a job in Lviv region.
About 20% got a job not by a major. Searches are complicated by general unemployment rate in Lviv region, and a significant difference in the structure of employment between uncontrolled territories and Lviv region (specific qualification of Donbas workers).
In addition, according to Ukrainian media, there is a new kind of earning – residents of Kiev sell residence (registration) for IDPs from the Donbas. People, who have moved to millionaire cities, often come to mind to pay for a local registry to get a good job and get rid of the problems, for instance, during visiting a clinic and other public institutions.
Positive news for displaced people was the fact that Verkhovna Rada can cancel the registration of residence. Last week, 242 MPs voted for the draft law №2166 «On amendments to some laws of Ukraine concerning the strengthening of guarantees of the rights and freedoms of internally displaced persons.” This draft law, in particular, offers to take into account a number of specific recommendations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and to improve the general accounting procedures, registration, etc., which are established for internally displaced persons in Ukraine.
This week, the organization Amnesty International claimed about torture of POWs. It was used by both parties of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. This organization encouraged the United Nations and experts to send a mission to Ukraine urgently and to visit all places, where the POWs are kept.
According to Amnesty International, there were incidents of abuse from the Security Service of Ukraine. Krasimir Yankov, Amnesty International’s researcher in Ukraine, said that the report was based on interviews with 33 people, who had been imprisoned since July 2014 to April 2015. Amnesty International has also documented three cases of decimation by rebels without trial.
In addition, the OSCE stated that some of the heavy weapons from the both sides is not in the storage areas.
Alexander Hug, Deputy Head of the ad hoc monitoring mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, noted that the situation in Donbas is volatile, and the ceasefire is not complied.
Hug stated that the situation around the ruined Donetsk airport is still unstable. During the week, there were intense fights, but the level of violence was lower than during previous weeks.
Meanwhile, leaders of the “Big Seven” will discuss the situation in the East of Ukraine at a meeting in Germany, 7-8 June. It was said by Josh Ernest, press secretary of the White House, at a briefing in Washington. In particular, representative of the White House noted the United States and the European partners are concerned for the destabilization of the situation in Ukraine.