12:06 / 01 Nov. 2015 / 256
Shell – well-known investor – leaves Donbas for good and all, the humanitarian situation in the Eastern regions remains complicated, and the elections in major cities of Donetsk and Luhansk regions have become abortive. More details about key events in our weekly review.
The situation on Donbas territory under Ukrainian control
Despite the absence of hostilities and significant damage on Donbas territories under Ukrainian control, the economic situation in the region is still complicated. Disjunction of the region and well-established economic connections affect the course of events.
Thus, export of goods from Donetsk region during January-August 2015 (excluding the part of ATO zone) amounted to $2.5235 billion, which is less by 2.6 times than it was during January-August 2014. During this time period, the region’s enterprises have exported products to 92 countries of the world against 119 countries in January-August 2014.
At the same time, the largest investors leave the region. Shell – oil and gas company – which started the process of development of deposits of unconventional hydrocarbons in Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, came out of this project for good and all. However, the project of development of hydrocarbon deposits near Hughes square, which is carried out through the “Nadra Hughes” company, has not been closed. Ukraine will look for a new investor.
It is unknown, would it be successful or not. After all, the restoration and development of the road connection of Donetsk region under the condition of stable funding during 2016-2025 will cost nearly UAH 25 billion. The construction and reconstruction of the roads of national significance will cost UAH 7.8 billion, overhaul and current repairs require IAH 13.3 billion, the price of current repair and maintenance is UAH 3.9 billion.
Meanwhile, it does not come about the systematic reconstruction works. This week, Donetsk Regional State Administration announced the development of an interactive map of restoring the region in order to avoid duplication of financing from various sources and to provide public access to information about projects and stages of its implementation.
At the same time, public takes on responsibility for the development of the region. Last week, community initiative “Restoring Donbas” has initiated a forum on the problems and prospects of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. According to the organization, a meeting between the representatives of the scientific elite, public authorities, public organizations, IDPs, business associations, representatives of international organizations, consulters should become the first step in developing a strategy of restorations and reintegration of Donbas.
In addition, “Restoring Donbas” presented the architectural design competition “Let’s restore Donbas together” in Kiev. The event took place in Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture during the opening of the Forum KievArh 2015 and the exhibition of the graduation projects of graduates from Ukrainian universities in major “architecture” and “design”. It is intended to attract potential of young scientists in the context of restoration works on Donbas territories.
On the uncontrolled territory of Donbas
There is still complicated situation in social and humanitarian fields on uncontrolled territories.
This week it became known that it is expected for the delay of social benefits and pensions on LNR territories. Local “administration” stated that only a half of payments were made. However, they are sure that it will be possible to renovate 100% amount of the payments in a week.
There is a difficult situation in Debaltsevo. According to the observers, the population is living on the brink of survival. Plethora villages in the security zone are still without gas and electricity. It is dangerous for repair crews to go there in order to carry out repair work.
In addition, there is an unstable situation in the context of heating. A lot of uncontrolled settlements have not started the heating season due to destroyed boiler houses. Due to prolonged hostilities near Debalcevo, only 16 houses out of 152 are ready to the heating season. At the same time, DNR announced about the restoration of all 208 boiling rooms in Makeyevka.
Meanwhile, rebels still get in the way of international humanitarian missions. Thus, the charitable organization “Doctors without Borders” was refused in accreditation. Moreover, they banned the activity of this organization on the territory, which is under control of rebels (DNR). However, the representatives of the organization had already delivered thousand vials of insulin to municipal hospital №2 in Gorlivka. Means for manipulation, antibiotics, painkillers were also supplied there.
The situation with water supply in the region is dangerous both for the controlled and uncontrolled parts of Ukraine. Nowadays, one of the main problems of water supply system is destroyed bridges over the stream and piping channel (Seversky Donets – Donbas). There are ten of it: car bridge near Slovyansk; 5 bridges in Gorlivka; 2 bridges near the village of Mikhaylovka; railway bridge near Makeyevka and car bridge on Pavlopolskom spillway near Mariupol.
Last week, once again there were difficulties with crossing the demarcation line in Donbas. According to the eyewitnesses, the queue near Gorlivka has reached unprecedented proportions. A column of cars and pedestrians stretched from the checkpoint to the so-called «golmovskiy» turn. People spent the night on the road in the open air. In this regard, Zhebrivskyi Pavel, the head of Donetsk regional military and civil administration, appealed to the headquarter of ATO and asked to open another border checkpoint near Kurakhovo. At the same time, the governor stressed that the number of people, who want to cross the demarcation line, has increased by 70% during the last week.
Later it became known that the checkpoint of entry / exit “Kurakhovo” will be opened on November 3, 2015 (at the request of the governor). Such decision was made due to the increase of the number of people, who cross the demarcation line, and the need to relieve operating checkpoints “Zaitsevo”, “Novotroitskoe”, “Gnutova.”
Meanwhile, pedestrian crossing point has been opened in Luhansk region. According to media reports, 330 people had used it during the hour of operating. The checkpoint and the logistics center will be made in Novotoshkovskoe village. People will be able to buy food, medicine and carry out bank payments there.
The beginning of the operation of Kramatorsk border guard from October 30, is the most iconic news. Iconic news in this it is that in the sectors of “B” and “C” in the area of the ATO from October 30 begins the work Kramatorsky border guard. Border guards are dealing with security checks.
IDPs from Donbas
According to the Ministry of Social Policy, last week the number of IDPs in Ukraine has reached 1,551,434 persons. It comes about 1,221,844 families. 560 343 among them applied for the allocation of benefits. According to the agency, 530,010 families were provided with such assistance. In general, there were allocated USD 2.69 billion of material benefits.
Community is still providing help to IDPs. For instance, eight families (displaced persons from Donbas), who are raising adopted children, have obtained assistance from the community initiative “Restoring Donbas”. The list of the objects of charitable help includes pressure cookers, stationery sets and hygiene kits, as well as 19 sets of bed linen. In addition, according to the volunteers of “Restoring Donbas”, it is planned to expand the providing help for more families from Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
International negotiations and the work of international humanitarian missions
Various international organizations and foundations continue its activities in order to support IDPs from Donbas and throughout the Ukraine. This week, the Polish delegation in Mariupol promised to transfer $ 1 million to the needs of internally displaced persons. In Lviv, the Czech organization “Caritas” has allocated funds for medicines and food to internally displaced persons from Luhansk and Donetsk regions and the Crimea. In addition, last week, there was signed an agreement between the Mariupol City Council and the representative of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Mariupol on providing financial assistance to 2,500 people among the IDPs.
There is a complicated humanitarian situation on Donbas territories. In spite of compliance with ceasefire regime, residents of ATO area still are in need of humanitarian assistance, especially along the demarcation line. This statement was made by Dominik Stillhart – director of operations for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Such assistance is keep on going. Thus, 560 tons of humanitarian aid has arrived to Donbas through the checkpoint “Novotroitskoe”. It was transported food, building materials, hygiene products from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
In addition, last week, Switzerland has sent another convoy (505 tons) with medicines and reagents for water purification. It was provided necessary chemicals for disinfection of drinking water for the local population on both sides of demarcation line as a part of current humanitarian assistance to the municipal enterprise “Water of Donbas”). Four hospitals in Donetsk were provided with reagents for laboratory analyzes, cytotoxic drugs and other medical supply.
“Polish Humanitarian Action” is increasing the assistance to victims of Donbas conflict among the civilian casualties. Nowadays, this charity organization provides daily meals to three hundred elderly residents of the territories near Donetsk. According to Piotr Kolodziej – an employee of “the Polish Humanitarian Action” mission in Ukraine – in November it is planned to expand the action on 2 thousand victims.
Last week charity fund of community initiative «Restoring Donbas» was included in the list of the organizations, which deal with the delivery of humanitarian aid. Now this organization can receive humanitarian assistance from the foreign donors and redistribute it to the needs of enterprises and citizens, who were affected by the conflict in the East of Ukraine – both IDPs and residents of controlled and uncontrolled territories of Donbas.
The region has a strong support of the United Nations Development Programme. This week UNDP has allocated UAH 6.2 million to the winners of the first round of the grant competition for entrepreneurs in Donetsk region. Among the winners of the first stage – there are 31 projects on restoring or creating of business. Another grant of UAH 785,235 was allocated by UNDP for the purchase of equipment for the rehabilitation of social institutions in Donetsk region. Another USD 230 thousand were allocated by UNDP together with Poland on support of the development of entrepreneurship among the population, which was affected by the conflict in Donbas.
October 23, UN has resumed humanitarian operations on uncontrolled territories of Ukraine in Luhansk region. Resolution on the resumption of activity in Luhansk was granted after submitting of the documents on the activities and presence of the United Nations and its partners. At the same time, the representatives of the regional office of the United Nations stated that there are no significant changes in the humanitarian situation in the East of Ukraine.
Meanwhile, OSCE has announced about the need for fast demining of areas in ATO zone. It also noted that it intends to open another 8-9 observation points in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Quite a lot of important events have happened at the level of international negotiations. Last week, there was held a meeting of the Contact Group in Minsk. It was reported that the Ukrainian party insists on holding of the elections on the uncontrolled territories under the existing Law on local elections with specific adjustments. It also presented the conceptual approaches to the political process.
Local elections were hold in Ukraine last week. However, voting was not carried out in plethora Donbas cities under Ukrainian control. For instance, local elections in Rubizhne and Severodonetsk (Luhansk region) were declared invalid. Elections in Krasnoarmeysk and Mariupol (Donetsk region) were not carried out.
It became the reason for the extra attention from the international community. US has already called on the Ukrainian authorities to hold elections in Mariupol and other cities as soon as possible. It was stated by Geoffrey R. Pyatt – US Ambassador to Ukraine – during the opening of the conference Business Council “US-Ukraine”.
In addition, Frank-Walter Steinmeier – German Foreign Minister – called on ensuring the elections in Mariupol and temporary uncontrolled territories. At the same time, Germany also advocated for the providing of the OSCE mission with the mandate to monitor the elections on the temporarily uncontrolled territories.
Against the background of these events, it was announced that Verkhovna Rada intends to vote for a bill on the ability to hold local elections in some Donbas cities.
Voting of IDPs from Donbas became a problem. The only person was able to defend his right to vote in the court in Kiev. Another IDP from Donetsk has won the court. However, she had no time to submit her name to the voters’ lists. She had an opportunity to vote in the second round. According to a lawyer, there were only 11 appeals to the courts by IDPs (2 of it are positive). In other regions there were also appeals from IDPs. However, there were no positive decisions.
The so-called “elections to local authorities” on the uncontrolled territory of Ukraine is unsettled issue. According to Denis Pushilin and Vladislav Danego – the representatives of «L-DNR» – it can be transferred sine die.
Withdrawal of weapons
Last week one of the key news was the withdrawal of weapons in Donbas in the context of the negotiating process. October 28, representatives of DNR announced the beginning of the second phase of withdrawal of weapons with caliber under 100–mm, – namely, artillery, from the demarcation line. It is noted that the process is followed by “representatives of the Joint Center for Monitoring and Coordination of the ceasefire and the staff of the Special monitoring mission of the OSCE”. October 30, ATO began the withdrawal of artillery systems in Donetsk direction (Donetsk region). It is planned that on November 2-4 the observers of the OSCE mission will conduct verification of the withdrawal of artillery systems. On November 5-8, ATO will carry out the withdrawal of mine-throwers with caliber under 120 mm in Donetsk region. On November 10-12, it is scheduled to conduct verification of withdrawal of mine-throwers by OSCE observers.
The process of withdrawal of weapons is problematic. In spite of vigilant control of international organizations both parties violate the agreement. Last week, OSCE noticed military equipment, which should not be on controlled and uncontrolled territories.
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