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Will the ‘vegetable junta’ of Donbas be left with no gas or social payments?

Will the ‘vegetable junta’ of Donbas be left with no gas or social payments?
Article by: Dmytro Barkar
Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
Kyiv – The pseudo-elections in the so-called ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ change nothing for Ukraine, experts note. This so-called ‘vote’ has no legal significance and does not increase the legitimacy of the separatist leaders, they say. Also, according to the experts, the citizens of the temporarily occupied territories remain citizens of Ukraine and hostages to the mercenaries, therefore a harsh response on part of the government to these ‘elections’ in the form of suspending gas supplies or social payments would be unfair. 

In Donetsk the mercenaries counted the ‘votes’ at their pseudo-elections and declared the ‘victory’ of Alexandr Zakharchenko. In Luhansk the mercenaries are still allegedly counting and report that according to the preliminary results, their current leader Igor Plotnitsky is ‘winning.’

Spokesman for the NSDC Information center Andriy Lysenko spoke about the process of the so-called ‘elections.’

“The so-called ‘voting process’ had all the characteristics of a staged action for Russian media. Anyone could ‘vote.’ The ‘voting’ even happened in Russia. The ‘voting’ began online where even several animals managed to ‘vote.’ They tried to stimulate the people by selling cheap vegetables and handing out so-called social cards. Donetsk and Luhansk citizens started calling the leadership of the ‘LNR’ and the ‘DNR’ the vegetable junta,” says Lysenko.

The so-called ‘elections’ in the occupied districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts have nothing to do with the expression of the people’s will and harshly violate the Minsk accords, claims Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. He calls the act organized by the separatists “a farce at gunpoint.” At the same time, Poroshenko notes that all the elections on Ukrainian territory wherein Ukrainian citizens cast their votes have to be held exclusively in accordance with Ukrainian laws.

Who will pay for gas?

Meanwhile Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk proposes to take gas away from the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR.’ He is asking the NSDC to examine the issue of fuel theft on the separatist-occupied territories of Donbas.

According to Naftogaz-Ukrayiny, the territories under the control of the separatists consumed abut 100 million cubic meters of gas in October alone without appropriate accounting and payment. Meanwhile about 1 billion cubic meters of gas may reach the region before the end of the year, which will lead to Naftogaz losing 6-7 billion UAH.

At the same time, technical opportunities allow to limit gas supplies to the temporarily occupied territories, notes deputy to the Chairman of the Board of Naftogaz Ukrayiny Oleksandr Todiychuk.

“The leaders of the terrorists are already deceiving the people and saying the gas comes from Russia. There is a technical possibility, using the existing pipelines, to ensure gas supplies to the occupied territories from Russia. The only question is who will pay for this gas. Today the debt of the occupied areas is extraordinarily big. There are debts for the consumed gas, there are huge losses of gas that arose in light of the infrastructure’s destruction. The time has come to determine the future of gas supplies to these occupied territories around in a conference room,” notes Todiychuk.

The pseudo-elections in Donbas change nothing for Ukraine, they have no legal significance and have not added to the legitimacy to the leaders of the separatists, the only thing they acquired is several arguments for propaganda, the expert notes.

“Citizens of the occupied territories are hostages”

Head of programs of the Ukrainian Independent Center for Political Studies Maksym Latsyba notes that energetic and economic relations between Ukraine and the temporarily occupied territories should not change despite the so-called ‘elections.’

“It is unfair that the Ukrainian state, the people, are forced to pay for gas which is consumed on the territories under terrorist control. On the other hand, if we just cut off gas, the people will end up in a humanitarian catastrophe zone. They are Ukrainian citizens. They are people who are factually hostages. Therefore it would be incorrect to cut off gas, water and social payments. We need dialogue. Maybe, if Russia supports the pseudo-leadership of the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ so much, it should pay,” Latsyba emphasizes.

Meanwhile Russia acknowledges the ‘elections’ on the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories. The statement made by the Russian MFA notes that the “elected representatives received a mandate to solve practical issues to restore normal life in the regions.”

After the statement about the acknowledgement of the ‘elections’ in the so-called ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR,’ the possibility of abolishing the sanctions against Russia is void, stated official representative of the German Chancellor Stephen Zeibert. Earlier the EU entertained the possibility of increasing sanctions in case the pseudo-elections in Donbas went acknowledged. Now the European Union stated that they do not acknowledge the so-called ‘elections’ on the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. Both the US and the UN refuse to acknowledge this ‘expression of will’ in the ‘DNR’ and ‘LNR’ as well.

Translated by: Mariya Shcherbinina
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