Restoring Donbas: main events during the 29 June – 5 Jule
18:02 / 06 Jul. 2015 / 315
Last week, UN reported new statistics about refugees from Ukraine and victims of the conflict in Donbas, the authorities made contradictory statements about the pass-entry system, “Restoring Donbas” launched a hotline for displaced persons and residents of the region. More details about key events related to the conflict in Donbas – in our weekly review of major news.
Situation on Ukrainian territories of Donbas
Last week it became known that despite the exhausted road infrastructure of Donbas, none of its facilities (which require renovation or repair) was not included in the decisions and orders of the Cabinet of Ministers on the allocation of credit and the budget for 2015. According to the Road Service of Donetsk region, it was planned to restore 30 damaged or destroyed objects (which require substantial investment) beyond the area of the armed conflict. However, current financial plans of the state do not give a chance to carry out these works.
Representatives of the central government announce other statistics. Thus, Gennady Zubko, the Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Regional Development of Ukraine stated that 150 million UAH from the state budget would be allocated to the projects related to restoring the infrastructure of the Donetsk region. However, specific terms were not named by Zubko.
International organizations are very active in the context of the problems with the budget funding in the region. Thus, last week the project “Restoring the social services and establishment of peace in Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” implemented by the United Nations Development Programme in collaboration with the Ministry of Health with the financial support of the Government of Japan has announced a tender for the renovation of four hospitals in Donetsk and Luhansk regions
Meanwhile, complicated financial situation is not the only problem in the zone of conflict. Human relations is the biggest one. Thus, in Marinka, which became the epicenter of the clashes in the western outskirts of Donetsk, the locals complain about the soldiers, who forcibly move them out from their homes. People report that besides the fact that AFU soldiers move in abandoned houses, they often expelled from the private homes those citizens, who refused to leave Marinka.
On the uncontrolled territories of Donbas
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Programs, 6,500 people are the victims of armed conflict in Ukraine, 16,000 were injured. In addition, according to the organization, five million people require humanitarian aid. Therefore, the UN World Food Programme decided to expand operations to provide urgent assistance to Donbas residents. The aim of the new phase of the humanitarian operation is provide food aid to 500 thousand people affected by the conflict by the end of the year.
This week, European Union joined the humanitarian support in the region. It has allocated 15 million euros of humanitarian aid for victims of the conflict in Donbas. Furthermore, Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, arrived In Donetsk in order to estimate the humanitarian situation in the region. During the trip, he visited the Oktyabrsky village in the Kuibyshev region, in particular, a hospital №21.
The situation in the areas of clashes remains complicated and unpredictable. Since July 1, the OSCE observers recorded 200 bombings around the Donetsk airport. Nearly half of the shots was carried out by artillery. At the same time, the OSCE mission drones recorded 38 tanks in Ternovoe village in Donetsk region.
The political situation around the region has aggravated. The parties of the conflict made a number of statements, which do not contribute to the negotiations and can lead to the complication of relations. Thus, representatives of the unrecognized DNR announced its decision about holding “local elections” on the uncontrolled territories of Donbas on October 18. Ukrainian President Poroshenko has already stated that the elections are illegal and lead to the disruption of the Minsk agreements. Moreover, last week, he introduced to the Verkhovna Rada the draft amendments to the Constitution and stated that decentralization of power does not provide for any special status of Donbas.
IDPs from the Eastern Ukraine
Last week the Cabinet of Ministers on the proposal of the Ministry of Finance changed the system of social payments of IDPs from ATO area. Nowadays, all new payments of IDPs and those, whose action is prolonged, would be fulfilled through “Oschadbank.”
International organizations still play a significant role in implementation of programs related to the support of IDPs in Ukraine. Thus, Odessa media reported that the European Union would allocate 1 million UAH for the retooling of the building of Vynohradiv rural hospital in Bolgrad district for displaced persons from Donbas. District takes part in the joint project of the European Union and the United Nations Development Programme “Local development oriented on community.”
In addition, it was announced that the European Commission, in cooperation with UNICEF, would allocate 1.7 million euros for the needs of internally displaced persons to the Kharkiv region. These funds will be allocated for the reconstruction of holiday camps. Nowadays, displaced children and families from the East of Ukraine are living there. Last week, UNICEF has reported that 11 thousand children from Donbas were able to get psychological support by virtue of a joint project of this organization and the National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”.
The situation with displaced persons from Donetsk region also remains complicated. According to the calculations of Pavel Zhebrivskyi, the new chairman of the Donetsk regional military-civilian administration, more than 400 thousand persons require accommodation. In general, statistics on the outflow of population from ATO zone looks depressing – the number of refugees (persons beyond the Ukrainian territory) has reached 900 thousand.
Pass-entry system in ATO zone
The topic of pass-entry system in ATO zone generated the greatest interest among the media and its audience. Pass-entry system became an agenda during this week due to the innovations, which were introduced by Security Service of Ukraine on June 16 as well as the constant its mention in the statements of politicians.
The statements of the first persons of the state and the region about the pass-entry system ran to extremes during the week. Thus, Petro Poroshenko, the President of Ukraine, confessed that the pass-entry system in ATO area violates the rights (guaranteed by the Constitution) of Ukrainian citizens. Meanwhile, Pavel Zhebrivskyi, the new governor of the Donetsk region told the media about the need for harsh and short-term economic blockade of the region.
The news that Ukrainian party plans to establish logistics centers in order to help in solving the problems related to the shortage and high cost of medicines and products among the demarcation line of ATO area became an important one in the context of the prospects of pass-entry system. In addition, Gennady Zubko, the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine, said that the delivery of humanitarian goods would be carried out with permission of the Security Service of Ukraine through two checkpoints (which are also defined by the Security Service of Ukraine).
Meanwhile, pass-entry system for ordinary citizens still creates plethora difficulties. For instance, the residents of uncontrolled territories of Donbas get an opportunity to leave Yenakiyevo and to arrive to the Ukrainian territory on three routes: Yenakiyevo – Artemovsk, Yenakiyevo – Kharkiv and Yenakiyevo – Dnepropetrovsk. Bus transport passengers to Mayorsky checkpoint and then they have to get at Artemovsk checkpoint (at their own expense). Behind the Artemovsk checkpoint, there is another bus, which transport passengers to Kharkiv.
Citizens, who pass through the Volnovakha checkpoint, have plethora difficulties. There are huge queues, which were formed due to the start of work of «customs office” DNR “in Dole.