KIEV – “As the Donetsk and Lughansk regions remain under control of all kinds of impostors, they will not receive funds from the central budget. The government will not fund terrorists and impostors“, said yesterday the Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk.
Last Sunday, the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk held elections that, according to Kiev, violated the peace agreement signed in Minsk.
Estimates of the Ministries of Finance and Economic Development and Trade of the Treasury of the State indicate that the total subsidies given to the territories of Donetsk and Lugansk, which have declared themselves politically independent from Kiev, amount to about 1,200 million and 890 million euros, respectively.
These payments include social security benefits, pensions, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, subsidies to large families and other social-aid and subsidies to coal mining, the main industrial activity in the Donbas region.
“Paying now to these areas means that money will not reach the people. It will stolen by pro-Russian bandits, which is nothing other than direct support for Russian terrorism” said Yatseniuk. At the same time, he said that the suspension of payments will not affect the supply of gas and electricity that originate in what he called ‘rebel areas’.
“These are our lands, our people. We will talk separately with the terrorists. Winter is approaching, so it would be hard, at first, for the people. The government will not allow them to freeze, because that would lead to a human catastrophe” said Yatseniuk, adding that they are temporary measures.
“As the Russian terrorists of Donetsk and Lugansk area are removed, we’ll retake control over these territories and each citizen will personally receive social benefits to which they are entitled,” he added.
Ukraine’s willingness to continue supplying gas and electricity to rebel territories is explained not only for humanitarian reasons, the Kiev government says, but also because Kiev depends largely on the coal produced in the Donbas region.
Deputy Energy Minister Yuri Ziukov specifies that this fuel reserves amount to about 1.8 million tonnes, down 3 or 3.5 million from the amount that is needed to ensure self-sufficiency.
Donbas has 93 coal mines, of which 70% are in the territory of the self-proclaimed Republics of Donetsk and Lughansk.
Last year, Donbas covered 38% of the coal needs of Ukraine. “Before, the country mined 70,000 tons a day, but now that number is down to about 20,000. For the first time Ukraine will have to import coal,” admitted Ziukov.