The Ukrainian government is doing everything possible not to abandon the residents of the Donbas, but its efforts are being undermined by the militants. As a result, people in the occupied territories are beginning to realize who is really defending their interests, President Poroshenko said in an interview with the German ARD broadcasting network, the president’s press service reported, November 30.
“People can see that these people with weapons are ordinary thugs. They come, they seize, they rob, they kill, and they cannot provide for the most basic needs of people.” As a result, inhabitants of the occupied territories are increasingly resorting to acts of protest with the demand that the thugs leave their land, he said.
According to Poroshenko, there is not enough food, water or heat in the territories controlled by the militants. There also is no money because the terrorists have ruined the banking system and stolen everything. Ukraine is continuing to supply gas and electricity that is already worth $700 million without receiving any payment. It is also supplying humanitarian aid — food and medicine, he said.
However, although Ukraine is doing everything possible to support the residents of the Donbas, it is unwilling to finance thugs, Poroshenko said. He reported that militants organize so-called pension tours, where people receive pension payments in liberated areas, and then they steal their money.
“We must hold local elections and restore order and then Ukraine will immediately begin payments. But this will be funding for the retirees not for the armed thugs who robbed them.” he said.
Poroshenko pointed out that violations of the Minsk agreements by the militants have resulted in numerous casualties, as confirmed by all international missions to date, including the OSCE monitoring mission. The terrorists who fire on residential neighborhoods are the violators of the agreements and the ones who are not allowing the peace process to return to the Donbas. Furthermore, more than 600 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians, including women and children, are still being held in basements by the militants, he said.
Poroshenko emphasized that all parties must abide by the Minsk agreements and that the only possible resolution of the conflict in the Donbas is peace, political process, and elections.
“If the occupying forces left our territory, peace and tranquility would return to Ukraine in 2-3 weeks — just as it happened in the liberated territories,” he concluded.
Adapted and translated from the president’s press service release.