Donbas “republics” seize Ukrainian assets blaming blockade

Donbas industrial landscape. Photo:kp.ua

Donbas industrial landscape. Photo:kp.ua 

2017/03/03 - 05:25 • News, War in the Donbas

On March 1, the enterprises operating under Ukrainian jurisdiction in the occupied territories were seized by so-called authorities of Donbas “republics.” According to terrorist leader Zakharchenko, Ukrainian-jurisdiction enterprises have been “nationalized” because of the transport blockade in the region. Akhmetov’s SCM Group, managing most of the seized companies, sees re-registering and paying taxes to LDNR unacceptable. Poroshenko calls for new sanctions.

On February 27, Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky, terrorist leaders of the uncontrolled territories in the Donbas, delivered an ultimatum, demanding Ukraine to stop the civil trade blockade of the Donbas, threatening to take control of the companies under Ukrainian jurisdiction operating in the occupied territories:

“We are forced to announce that if by 00:00 on Wednesday (1 March 2017) the blockade is not removed, we will introduce external management on all companies in Ukraine’s jurisdiction that operate in the DNR and LNR… We will restructure all production processes and direct them at the Russian market and other countries.”

Blockade activists hoped neither more nor less than to stop the war with their blockade. Zakharchenko took a step further ahead of his counterparts in his dreams:

“The count starts now. Every day is a nail driven in the coffin lid of a country which used to call itself Ukraine. A maximum of 60 days and the state will practically cease to exist.” (translation by The Interpreter

What was stolen in Luhansk?

So-called “Council of ministers of LNR” issued a decree, imposing temporary administrations at “non-resident enterprises and institutions.” Only three coal enterprises, owned by Ukrainian tycoon Rinat Akmetov, are listed in the document’s appendix:

  • Metinvest’s Krasnodonvuhillia – five mines, two enrichment factories
  • DTEK’s Rovenkyantratsyt – six mines and three enrichment factories
  • DTEK’s Sverdlovantratsyt – five mines and three enrichment factories

For some reason, the list does not include two more major enterprises situated in the occupied part of Luhansk Oblast, Alchevsk Metallurgical Plant and Alchevsk Coking Plant belonging to the Industrial Union of Donbas (ISD), owned by another oligarch Serhiy Taruta, ex-governor of the Donetsk Oblast.

What was stolen in Donetsk?

A parallel document was issued in Donetsk, however, the list mentioned in the document’s body is absent from the decree.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) tapped and published a phone conversation of allegedly Zakharchenko with a Russian citizen, the tape proves that Russian handlers are planning to transfer the majority of the most attractive Ukrainian economic assets located in the occupied territory of Donetsk Oblast to the structures of the oligarch Serhiy Kurchenko, who fled to Russia.

Among other matters, a voice alleged to be that of Aleksandr Zakharchenko discloses a possible reason why no list has been appended to the Donetsk decree, he says, 16 enterprises are counted in the list, but they “cannot cope with” 5 of them, i.e. the list may be not final yet.

On March 1, Zakharchenko has mentionedabout 40 enterprises” with “external administration introduced at almost all of them, with few exceptions,” but the list has still not been published.

The first confirmed seizure took place on February 28 and it was not an industrial company. The Akhmetov’s charity foundation has released a statement, saying Donbas Arena stadium has been seized by gunmen:

Armed people blocked distribution center at Donbas Arena and issuing points of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center in temporarily non-government-controlled areas. The Humanitarian Center has no reliable information about th e reasons for such action. The premises, equipment and all humanitarian aid are blocked, and the Center’s volunteers have no access to them.

On February 28 and March 1, multiple reports by residents of the occupied cities emerged on social networks, some of them mentioned ongoing “nationalization”:

February 28
10:45 Donetsk: Head of Donbas Arena has been taken away by armed thugs. Personnel was dispersed and prohibited them even approach the stadium today within a shot range.
[~11:00] Donetsk: DMZ [=Donetsk metallurgical plant] is shut up by armed people, all entrances-exits are blocked
11:11 Donetsk: DTEK office on Shevchenka Blvd: armed orcs emerged since yesterday
11:44 Komsomolske: “External administration” came to Komsomolske Ore Mining Administration. They gathered all  heads of workshops, holding a working meeting
[~12:00] “DNR MP”: Ukrtelecom and about half score more Ukraine-jurisdiction enterprises are “alles kaputt” [= German for “everything’s broken”] 12:12 Donetsk: DMZ [=Donetsk metallurgical plant] has fully stopped operating, chimneys don’t smoke, and I doubt we won’t hear the buzzers  soon
12:20 Donetsk: 2 assault-riflemen at the entrance of DTEK office, you can enter, probably to prevent bringing anything out. Shredders are working in full swing on floors.
12:23 Donetsk:  All in all, “nationalizers” came to the offices of all Akhmetov’s enterprises in Donetsk – DTEK, Luks, Donbas Arena
13:23 Makiivka: Makiivka coke plants [=Yasynivka Cokery Plant and Makiivka Coke And Chemical Plant]: the same [as in Donetsk], but without riflemen. A boy came and said, “Hello, I am your temporary administration”
14:48 Donetsk: DTEK personnel is at home with 2/3 of salary, waiting for something. Is it an Akhmetov’s bluff?
14:48 Rovenki: Akhmetov’s DTEK employees in ORDLO have been cut from the corporative network and software

March 1
12:02 Yenakiieve: EMZ [=Yenakiieve Iron and Steel Works] too
[17:00] Horlivka Stirol: In general, it went quiet, without armed men. A woman came and declared herself a curator, her team to come later

Official positions

At the meeting with Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs of Great Britain Boris Johnson and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland Witold Waszczykowski on March 1, President Petro Poroshenko called for the introduction of sanctions against individuals who illegally appropriate Ukrainian assets: “To apply sanctions for the violation of international and Ukrainian legislation against those who will enter into the so-called possession of confiscated assets”.

“Russia de facto confiscated Ukrainian state and private assets located in the occupied territory. This is yet more evidence of Russian occupation of eastern Ukraine,” Poroshenko said.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov endorsed stealing assets explaining that Kremlin puppet “states” have to “survive somehow”:

“We are witnesses to a situation where regions rejected by their own state have found themselves in a still worse position amid tight blockade by the extremists. For this reason, one can understand to a certain extent the latest actions taken by the leaders of these regions, rejected by the state. There are the lives of several million people at stake. These people will have to survive somehow.”

Ukrainian Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko promises to sue Russia for the loss of assets:

“We understand that Moscow rules authorities in the DNR/LNR. Their statements spell out the stance of official Moscow, as an aggressor country, regarding some or other actions. We will place all these facts in our international lawsuits and this will be a subject of international court judgments.”

On March 2, Akhmetov’s SCM Group has released a statement on current developments, noting that they refuse to pay taxes to the “LDNR”:

SCM Group has always been working only within the laws of Ukraine, including our businesses in the NGCA (non-government controlled areas in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts). No pressure can make us change the jurisdiction of our assets.

The statement summarizes, “We believe that private property is sovereign, and the demands of re-registration of our companies and payment of taxes to self-proclaimed DNR and LNR are unacceptable.”

  • “LDNR” (Luhansk and Donetsk “people’s republics”) has grabbed the assets de-facto located in the occupied areas, but registered in free Ukraine, paying taxes to Ukraine’s budget and salaries in hryvnia to their workers.
  • The blockade of the railroads was launched in late January by Ukrainian lawmakers and veterans to cease trade with the occupied territories, they believed cutting off the funding to terrorist “republics” can stop the war.
  • On February 14, Alchevsk Metallurgical Plant (AMK), an ironworks in the uncontrolled area of Luhansk Oblast, suspended iron smelting “due to lack of iron-ore raw materials as a result of the blocking of railway tracks.” 
  • On February 20, Yenakiieve Iron and Steel Works and Krasnodonugol, subsidiaries of Akhmetov’s Metinvest Group, halted operations because of “ongoing armed hostilities and a blockade of railway transportation.”

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  • Dagwood Bumstead

    And just how does Zakharchenko think he can find markets for the seized companies in Dwarfstan when the country’s own coal mining has been decimated under the dwarf, and Dwarfstan has enough steel plants of its own? Dwarfstan doesn’t need the output of these plants and mines.
    It’s far more likely that the inventories of all the seized companies are carted off to Dwarfstan as either scrap or for further use, as Stalin’s hordes did all over Eastern Europe after 1944-45. Locusts couldnt do a “better” job.

  • Dirk Smith

    Once again, mongol ruSSia highlights their proud history of theft, lies, and murder. Crush Muscovy. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/95907449a2a8b7bad9c7b0902833a6d67b311f84606f3e9b878ee0934e056696.jpg

    • RedSquareMaidan

      And once again, according to Russian logic, it is Ukraine’s fault for defending Ukraine. No wonder vodka is so popular in the Russia.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        So is Krokodil.

    • Andrew Chimilewsky’s Daddy!

      Old, senile Ukrap Troll “Dirk Coccksucker” is still yakking incoherently! HA HA, HA!

  • Murf

    Looks like Akhmetov is going to take it on the chin.
    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy
    After years of playing both sides in this war he is going to have to choose a side.

    • Andrew Chimilewsky’s Daddy!

      Isn’t today Shabat? Don’t you Talmudic Trolls observe holly reflection-days?

    • Vol Ya

      I agree, akhemtov and putin and his russian trolls are all going to lose. Ukraine is not going to be under russian rule again. the people of eastern Ukraine and southern Ukraine and western Ukraine and central Ukraine and northern Ukraine despise Russia and putin and do not want to live under russian rule.

      • Murf

        Dam straight!

    • gmab

      I think he did once the war started. He’s pro-Ukraine & has done alot to prove that since Day 1. He’s from Donbas but moved to Kyiv. He’s kept his factories & businesses operating in Ukraine as well as Donbas. Putin is pressuring Akhmetov to sell his majority share of the Opposition Party (former Party of Regions) to pro-ruski oligarchs but he refuses. Putin wants a very strong 5th column but can’t do it with his pro-Ukraine sentiments. Putler threatened to nationalize all of his assets in Donbas. When he refused – they did it. He kept his factories working in Donbas to supply jobs for locals and for the coal to Ukraine. Taxes were being paid to Ukraine not the separatists. Ukraine intends to keep Donbas & this plan with Ukr Gov’t & him was working up until now.

      • Murf

        He was a Yanukovitch supporter fro day one. When yanuko bolted he went to Aknmentov for help and Aknmentov helped smuggle him out of the country. He played the waiting game for months to see who things worked out then sided with Kyiv. Even after that he was bribing the rebels to leave his property alone and sending the aid. Several of his trucks Carrying Vodka and smokes have been intercepted. Rebels frequently claimed he was paying them.
        Now he has convinced the government not to reduce dependance on Anthracite coal. coal form his mines. for which he is charging a huge price.Before the war Donbas coal cost the government the outrageous price of 150$ per tonne. The coal from South Africa cost 80$ at the port. Why is the government not buying the SA coal
        $$$$ from you guessed it.
        The Rotterdam Formula assumes the price of coal at Rotterdam and includes the price of shipping it to Ukraine half way across the European continent. However coal actually is only being shipped about 100 mines from Donbas.
        Do you see where SOMEONE is price gouging.
        The Thermal plants that Aknmentov owns supposedly HAVE to have Anthracite coal. At least they do since he bought them in 2011. Before that they could burn anything. His plants, his coal. No other chose
        Convenient huh?
        And that’s a couple of his shenanigans.
        He is a political opportunist who plays the angles. Nothing more.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          Those power plants Akhmetov bought in 2011 were “privatised” by Yanukovich in pretty much the same way as he “privatised” KrivyiRihStal to Akhmetov and Pinchuk in 2004 for $800 million, far below the plant’s true value. In 2005 Yulia, as PM, reversed that “privatisation” and sold KrivyiRihStal in a public transparent auction; eventual winner was Mittal Steel who paid $3.8 billion. Yulia intended to examine over 500 other “privatisations” and reverse any dubious transactions, but she was constantly thwarted by Yushchenko.

          • Murf

            The Kyiv rah Stal plant is doing good and are going to be modernized.
            Goes to show the difference fair competition and corruption.
            Good for Yulia!

        • Andrew Chmil

          Didn’t know all that! — Thanks!

    • Tony

      I say tax the shit out of Akhmetov on the Ukrainian side and bring him down to size, he can still be a successful businessman but only if he works hard, competes fairly and keeps his paws out of the government.

  • MichaelA

    so what wil happen to all the workers at these factories?
    will they bribe them to go to russia too?

    • Alex George

      That’s a good question. Without money to pay the workers, I am guessing they will leave. Who knows to where – Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, China?

      I don’t see Russia chipping in to buy the coal – it already can’t sell all of its own anthracite.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        Some of them will join the Kolorads for 15,000 rubbles per month, take part in the next offensive of the so-called LNR/DNR and be shot to pieces by the Ukrainian army. Going to Dwarfstan is their only alternative as their LNR/DNR passports aren’t recognised by any other country, not even by Belarus. But with Dwarfstan’s own economy in poor shape and unemployment there up as well it is difficult to see many of them finding gainful employment there.

        • Vol Ya

          I hear that bath lotion is cheap in russia so these Russian swine might go to Russia because it costs them less to get drunk there.

    • Andrew Chimilewsky’s Daddy!

      Yak… This senile Ukrap Troll “MichaelA” is still yakking incoherently!

      • MichaelA

        so you answer the question
        what will happen to all the workers at these factories?

  • Yoshua

    The coal mines in Donbas counts for 95% of Ukraine’s energy recourses and are the largest coal reserves in Europe… excluding Russian reserves.

    It is no surprise that Russia annexed Crimea and occupied Donbas in a response to the EU and Nato expansion into Ukraine.

    The question has been since this conflict: Who will collapse first… Moscow or Brussels ? I believe Brussels will collapse first.

    • Alex George

      Coal is 95% of Uklraine’s energy resources? Where did you get that figure from? According to Open EI, Ukraine’s reserves include 37 billion tons of coal, but over 1.1 Trillion cubic metres of natural gas. All that makes coal very much the junior partner in terms of energy reserves.

      Also, this current issue is not about coal per se, but about anthracite, which is only used in old obsolete Soviet power stations.

      And finally, there was no “EU and NATO expansion into Ukraine”. Rather, the Ukrainian people decided they could no longer tolerate Kremlin corruption, Putin didn’t like this and attacked.

      Moscow will collapse first. Its already started.

      • Quartermaster

        Yeppers! Putin has been stupid in dealing with the Chechens and is fighting them in Syria. Putin has placed his country in a very perilous position, one which he can’t get out of without winning in Syria. Another bad circumstance he is now in is that he has promised Assad that he will get the Golan back from Israel. Now that a lot of oil has been found under the Golan, it has become even more urgent for Assad. The bad thing about this is the only way the Golan will go back to Syria is by force of arms – Israel will not give it up without a fight. You can read the outcome of that fight in Ezekial chapters 38 & 39. It will destroy Russia.

        • zorbatheturk

          Good.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          After the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel stated that there were two territories it would NEVER hand back: Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. It has stuck to that policy ever since, and Assad doesn’t have the strength to take it back with his army.

          • Quartermaster

            The lack of strength is why Assad asked Putin for help getting the Golan back. And, no, Israel will not voluntarily give the Golan back. That’s why I said it will take force of arms, but Ezekial chapters 38 and 39 detail the outcome of that effort. Putin will try.

      • Andrew Chmil

        Above secretive creature is a RUSKI MOLE!!!

    • Kruton

      #I’ll believe anything no matter how stupid it is

    • Murf

      Ukraine has tonnes of uranium.
      Nuclear power plants produce up to 60% on Ukraine’s electricity.
      Coal fired plants only 15%.
      And only about 9 require Anthracite coal.
      So much for your numbers.

    • Quartermaster

      The only entity that has “expanded into Ukraine” is Putinist Russia.

    • Brent

      “NATO expansion into Ukraine”…..nice lie little mindless sheeple!!!!

      I think the only thing that collapsed was your intelligence

    • zorbatheturk

      The EU is far more resilient than Putinistan.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Even IF the EU were to collapse, how would that help Dwarfstan? Such a collapse would mean much less economic activity in the EU, and much less demand for Dwarfstan’s oil, gas and mineral resources. Result: FEWER $$$ for the Dwarfstanian treasury and the offshore bank accounts of the dwarf and his crooked chums, at a time when Dwarfstan’s money is running out.

  • Brent

    Lousy stinking filthy Russians would still my sh*t if I didn’t flush the toilet….

    • zorbatheturk

      LOL.

    • Andrew Chimilewsky’s Daddy!

      This Old, senile Ukrap Troll “Brent” is still yakking incoherently his Talmudic Anti-Christian Propaganda!

      • Vol Ya

        Russia only knows how to lie and cheat and steal. Russia is a state sponsor of doping. it is a proven fact.

  • veth

    Russia’s war hits tourism industry in Crimea
    According to Russian tour operators, the number of Russians likely to visit the once thriving spa and resort peninsula will further drop by 15% this year, Segodnya reports March 3.

    Instead of going to Crimea with its inferior infrastructure and dwindling services, Russians prefer to vacate in Turkey, Egypt and other recreation areas.

    Hotel price hikes up this year by 15-20% is another reason, Russian tour operators say.

    Crimea has problems with water, gas and electricity supplies. Читайте більше тут: http://zik.ua/en/news/2017/03/03/russias_war_hits_tourism_industry_in_crimea_1054485

    • zorbatheturk

      Turks are ready. They will feed ruSSian tourists the ” Salmonella Speziale ” kebabs.

      • Tony

        Now if only German pharmaceuticals could join in by swapping the shipments of russian stomach sickness medicines with laxatives, then we would have a check-mate plan!

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          Dwarfstanians can’t use German pharmaceutical products- they are VERBOTEN by order of the dwarf. ONLY the dwarf and his crooked chums may use western pharmaceutics, brought in by courier in the diplomatic bag so that ordinary Dwarfstanians won’t know about the dwarf violating his own ban.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      There’s also the small matter of Dwarfstan’s own economy being in poor shape and more Dwarfstanians struggling to make ends meet. Holidays, whether in Turkey, Egypt or the Crimea, will hardly be their top priority. Pedo Putolini will simply have to increase the subsidies to the Crimea yet again to keep it barely afloat, draining the Reserve Fund even sooner.

      Karlikstan is falling down, falling down, falling down,
      Karlikstan is falling down, my fair lady.
      (Karlikstan = Dwarfstan in Dwarfstanian)
      Sung to the tune of “London Bridge is falling down”.

  • veth

    American Congress to discuss 150 million dollar lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine.

  • zorbatheturk

    Jail these bustards.

  • Andrew Chimilewsky’s Daddy!

    Kiev has hurled accusations against this key Russian economist quite often. The more pathetic that the economic situation in Ukraine becomes, the more often they blame them.

    Where is your Cookie Lady and uncle Jo now, trolls?

    • Vol Ya

      try telling the truth for once you lying russian troll. Russia has fundamental weaknesses. Its economy is barely limping along(thanks to the decline in oil prices) amid growing poverty levels and a demographic crisis. Sanctions have also hurt. GDP has been declining for several years now. Life expectancy in Russia is declining. Did you stupid russian trolls forget who used to feed you russian swine, it was Ukraine. Without Ukraine you russian swine will starve. Ukraine does not need russia.

      • Andrew Chimilewsky’s Daddy!

        Says the Troll who has sheet for brain. If you are not NeoNaZZi indoctrinated you would have celebrated my honest, true comments.

        • Dirk Smith

          Past your bedtime, pussy.

          • Andrew Chimilewsky’s Daddy!

            Yap, ussy-grabber … too bad you have mangina instead!

          • Alex George

            In other words, you can;t contradict any point that he made.

            Typical Putin troll – abuse but no substance.

            What Vol Ya wrote is the simple truth – Ukraine does not need Russia.

    • Dirk Smith

      LOL. Pea brain.

      • Andrew Chimilewsky’s Daddy!

        You say your mother is what?

      • Andrew Chimilewsky’s Daddy!

        LOL. Your mother is what?

  • Vol Ya

    stop feeding the Russian bear. Russia is bankrupt, kapoot, finished. Russians are so desperate that they can’t even afford to drink vodka anymore, they have to drink bath soap.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Pedo Putolini and his crooked chums still drink REAL vodka, though, as well as French Cognac, Scotch whisky and all other EU firewater forbidden to ordinary Dwarfstanians. Oh, and they also eat REAL French Camambert, Rocquefort and Brie, REAL Dutch Edam and Gouda, REAL English Cheddar and Stilton and other banned EU cheeses. Not to mention Polish geese, Norwegian and Scottish salmon etc etc. To show ordinary Dwarfstanians how much their leaders are suffering from the boycotts the dwarf and chums have fresh Belarusian shrimp on the menu as well, as a token of solidarity with their loyal subjects.