Restoring Donbas: main events during the 22-28 June
21:14 / 29 Jun. 2015 / 347
Last week the head of the State Agency for the Restoring of Donbas was finally assigned in Ukraine. However, this news was not the most important one. New rules of pass-entry system in ATO zone became the paramount issue. Both the regional and national media wrote about it. More details in our weekly review of key news.
After the modifications in the procedure of crossing the demarcation line, this topic has become a crucial one in Donbas. On Friday, June 26, the Security Service of Ukraine terminated the issuing of paper passes into ATO zone. The press service of the Security Service of Ukraine noted that at the beginning of July, all who apply for passes, would be able to arrive at the checkpoint and pass it if they are in the database on passports.
Thus, electronic system of passes at checkpoints will be officially launched only in a week – from 7 July. It was confirmed by Alexander Turchinov, Secretary of the National Security Council. His deputy Alexander Litvinenko said that the State could not guarantee security for those citizens, who leave ATO area by public transport.
Meanwhile, society and experts argued against the new rules and began to talk about plethora risks. For instance, displaced persons from Donetsk and Luhansk regions came out on Maidan Nezalezhnosti in Kiev to protest against the “transport blockade and humiliation of pass-entry system in ATO the area.”
Community initiative “Restoring Donbas” claimed about the urgent need for modification of current pass-entry system. Lawyers of the organizations have elaborated a list with priority changes in the rules and sent them to the Security Service of Ukraine. Elena Petryaeva, the leader of the initiative, noted that Temporary procedure violates seven articles of the Constitution of Ukraine and the European Convention on Human Rights.
The necessity of simplification of the passing the demarcation line in Donbas was discussed in Donetsk regional military and civil administration. According to Paul Zhebrivskyi, the new governor, the relevant documents have been submitted to the Anti-Terrorism Center.
IDPs from Donbas
Last week the Ministry of Social Policy announced that by June 22, the number of displaced persons from Donbas and the Crimea has reached 1,345,000 people.
The number of IDPs in the country continues to grow. The housing problem remains extremely topical. Local authorities still use modular camp, which was presented by Germany, for displaced persons. However, it is far from being enough for all people.
Last week it was reported that rotation of tenants, whose contracts expire for temporary housing, is preparing in a modular camp for IDPs in Kharkov. As a result, several families in the near future will move from the village.
Meanwhile in Kiev, Desnyanskiy district, local authorities opened the Center of assistance and temporary allocation of internally displaced persons. The center will provide information and legal assistance as well as psychological support to IDPs from the territories of Eastern Ukraine.
Situation on Donbas territory
Last week, the World Health Organization announced the proximate number of deaths during the conflict in the East of Ukraine. According to it, about 6,500 people were killed during the hostilities.
Locality and fewness of military clashes in the region retain the interest of journalists about the economy of Donbas. Thus, last week the media published the information about the economic situation in the territories of Donbas, which are currently under Ukrainian control.
Department of Statistics in Donetsk region reported that the volume of agricultural production in the region (excluding the part of ATO zone) during the January-May 2015 comparing to January-May 2014 decreased by 34.5%.
According to the Department, industrial production in Donetsk region during the January-May reduced by 2 times. Comparing to the same period in 2014, it is remarked a decline in all the main industrial fields: in metallurgical production and production of finished metal products – by 40.7%, in engineering – by 43.7%, in manufacture of coke and refined petroleum products – by 2, 1 times, in mining and quarrying – by 2.5 times.
Logistics is still affected by the hostilities. Thus, railway cargo traffic in Donetsk and Luhansk regions in 2015 compared to the previous year decreased on average by 50% – up to 150-180 thousand tons per day.
Pavlo Rozenko, Minister of Social Policy, noted that according to his estimation, restoration of Donetsk and Luhansk regions in Ukraine would cost about 1.3 billion US dollars.
Meanwhile, on the uncontrolled territories of Donbas, there is a complicated situation with the fuel at gas stations. According to the locals, last days almost all of the petrol stations in the city are closed. There is a relatively stable situation with gas in the region. This week, Russian “Gazprom” reported nearly 700 million cubic meters of gas was supplied to Donbas (since February).
International assistance and statements of international structures
Last week, Angela Merkel, German Chancellor claimed that the ceasefire in Donbas is violated by both sides. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, confirmed this information and stated about the risk of resumption of heavy battles in the East of Ukraine.
OSCE monitoring mission declared about the strained situation in Donbas. In particular, the mission observed the tense situation around the Donetsk airport.
Meanwhile, Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary General called for full compliance with the Minsk agreement on the settlement of the situation in Ukraine. UN Secretary-General also noted that there are serious violations of human rights in the East of Ukraine.
Last week EU also appealed to the Minsk Agreement, focusing on the “late” points of Minsk agreements, in particular – regarding the special status of the Donbas. In this case, the EU insists that this must be done without waiting for Russia, DNR and LNR fulfill their part of the agreement.
During this week, international humanitarian assistance to the region was mentioned only once. In particular, it became known that the International Red Cross sent 21 trucks with humanitarian aid to the uncontrolled territories of Donbas. The cars were filled with nearly 338 tons of food, building materials and personal hygiene products.
In addition, it was reported that international donors during four months have collected only a third of the amount requested by the United Nations to assist the population affected by the conflict in the East of Ukraine. Such statistics was announced by Neil Walker, UN Resident Coordinator in Ukraine during the interview with UN Radio.