Ukraine imposes official blockade on occupied territories demanding stolen assets back

March 15, Kyiv. Head of the National security council Oleksandr Turchynov unveiling the details of Council's decision on the official blockade of the occupied territories. Credit: rnbo.gov.ua

March 15, Kyiv. Head of the National security council Oleksandr Turchynov unveiling the details of Council's decision on the official blockade of the occupied territories. Credit: rnbo.gov.ua 

2017/03/16 - 04:10 • News, War in the Donbas

Activists led by several lawmakers have been blocking several railway lines connecting government-controlled Donbas with its occupied parts since January, they think the terrorists of Russian-backed “people’s republics” get their profits from commerce with Ukrainian companies. On March 1, Donbas “republics” seized Ukrainian assets blaming the blockade. On March 13, the Ukrainian police unblocked one of the railways having detained 45 activists. Today the makeshift blockage has become the official blockade.

On March 15, President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the NSDC (National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine) to ask it to halt all cargo traffic with the occupied territories in Eastern Ukraine:

Imposing the blockade Ukraine demands to return seized businesses

Secretary of the NSDC Oleksandr Turchynov unveiled the Council’s decision for the press after the meeting, Ukraine demands to return Ukrainian steel and coal businesses seized by Russian-backed forces two weeks ago:

The NSDC decided to suspend the cargo movement across the delimitation line until paragraphs 1-2 of the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements of February 12, 2015 are implemented [immediate and full ceasefire, pull-out of all heavy weapons – YZ], and until the seized enterprises are returned under Ukrainian jurisdiction.”

Turchynov added:

“I’d like to inform you that the National Police and the National Guard will block all motorways and railroads leading to the contact line by 1 p.m. today, consistent with the National Security and Defense Council’s decision”

The Presidential Administration specified that the ban on cargo traffic is not applied to the international humanitarian aid:

Tycoon’s company recognizes loss of its assets

Meanwhile, DTEK energy holding owned by Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov has recognized that it lost control of its enterprises in the occupied areas, the enterprises listed are:

Donetsk Oblast:

  1. DTEK Komsomolets Donbasu coal mine
  2. DTEK Mospyne Coal Treatment Plant
  3. DTEK Energovuhillia ENE
  4. Zuivska thermal power station (DTEK Skhidenergo and JSC Techrempostavka)
  5. DTEK Donetskoblenergo PJSC
  6. JSC Techrempostavka [mentioned earlier on the same DTEK list – YZ]
  7. Elektronaladka Ltd
  8. DTEK Power Grid
  9. DTEK Service

Luhansk Oblast:

  1. DTEK Sverdlovantratsyt
  2. DTEK Rovenkyantratsyt

As we reported earlier, on March 1 the Russian-supported Luhansk and Donetsk “People’s Republics” (“LNR” and “DNR”) “nationalized” 46 Ukrainian assets in the occupied territories, at least 32 assets grabbed by occupation authorities were owned by oligarch Rinat Akhmetov.

Read more: What assets did Russia’s puppet republics seize from Ukraine? Full list

DTEK Skhidenergo and JSC Techrempostavka were not mentioned on the “DNR” list, however, Techrempostavka was a managing company of Zuivska thermal power station, which was mentioned by “DNR” as “nationalized.”

DTEK says the general managers of all these enterprises were notified of the need to re-register businesses in DNR/LNR and of the beginning of “asset inventory process,” the company states its position:

From this moment [March 15 – YZ] DTEK does not control the operation of these enterprises. The company regards as unacceptable the requirement to re-register our enterprises, any form of pressure will not force DTEK to change the jurisdiction of its assets.

President blames blockaders

At the NSDC session, President Petro Poroshenko claimed that the Government has significantly reduced the number of commodities that can be transported across the touch line, increased anti-smuggling activities and urged civil activists to carry out joint control but initiators of the blockade continued political turmoil:

“Local leaders of terrorists and Moscow accepted this pass from several Ukrainian political forces. Due to these synchronized actions, the situation in eastern Ukraine has been deteriorated substantially. Unfortunately, for Ukraine, not for its enemies,” Petro Poroshenko said. The situation on the frontline has been escalated as well, because Russia has recognized passports of the so-called republics and terrorists confiscated and seized Ukrainian enterprises at the direction of Moscow… Ukraine has lost its enterprises due to the joint efforts of terrorists and initiators of the blockade.

Germany calls to stop blocking railway connections to the Donbas

German Federal Government Spokesman Steffen Seibert has stated that Berlin is concerned about the blockade in Eastern Ukraine, Ukrinform reports. German statements refer to the civil blockade.

“The federal government appeals to all those who are blocking the important railway connection with Donbas: Stop doing this as such actions hamper not only attempts to reach a peaceful solution but provision of Ukraine with electricity as well,” Seibert said.

Russia calls on Ukraine to stop blockade

On March 15, Russia’s foreign ministry called on Ukraine to end the transport blockade of the occupied territories in the east of the country, saying that the situation risked turning into a “humanitarian catastrophe.” As usual, the ministry blamed Ukraine for the ongoing escalation of hostilities, conducted by the Russian-backed forces since late February.

  • A trade blockade of the occupied parts of Donbas was launched on January 25 by demobilized soldiers and veterans of Ukrainian volunteer battalions under the direction of the several lawmakers, a rail section which connects occupied Luhansk to government-controlled cities was blocked.
  • Blockade activists said that trading with the occupied areas is equal to trading on blood. In their opinion, the militants get their profits from commerce with Ukrainian companies. Authorities were of the opinion that the blockade should be ceased as the country’s energy security is under a threat.
  • As a result of the blockade, several iron mills and coal companies situated in the occupied territory halted production.
  • On March 1, “LDNR” (Luhansk and Donetsk “people’s republics”) “nationalized”46 companies, which were operating under Ukrainian jurisdiction on the occupied territories, paying taxes to Ukraine’s budget and salaries in hryvnia to their workers.
  • On March 13, the police unblocked the railway line connecting occupied Yasynuvata and government-controlled Kostyantynivka, having detained 45 protesters.

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  • Tony

    Crimeas electricity blockade and now this. By the people, for the people. I’m not sure if this action is optimal but it is great that the government eventually follows the path set by activists. In russia they just shoot their activists and follow what Putin says.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Better late than never, but it’s sad that activists have to take the initiative and force the government to do what it shoud have done without prodding, first with the Crimea and now with the Donbas.

  • MichaelA

    turchynov is a good man
    he rallied MPs to take over the government after yanukovych fled to kharkiv

  • Eolone

    Surprisingly, the US State Dept. just declared Crimea to be part of Ukraine and condemned Russian occupation.

    • Quartermaster

      Given Trumps stated inclinations, many thought the Trump maladministration wouldn’t do anything of the sort. Several of us predicted otherwise.