DPR, LPR suggest direct dialog to lift Donbass blockade

Donetsk, June 5 – DAN. The LPR and DPR have proposed to Ukraine a direct dialog at the Minsk talks to lift the Donbass economic blockade, the DPR Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova told TASS News Agency.

“At today’s meeting of the economic subgroup we awaited new Ukrainian representatives to amend their rhetoric in favor of a worthwhile approach towards the negotiations. In this regard, we called for a direct dialog between the sides of the conflict, the Republics and Ukraine, within the designated group on economic issues,” she said.

The following areas of work have been suggested: bilateral coordination of actions to lift the Ukrainian economic blockade; harmonization of standards to tually allow humanitarian and industrial goods in; arrangements concerning the management of industrial assets, and the related income and expenditure distribution; building mechanism of retribution payments for damages caused by Ukrainian authorities related to the blockade, including job losses, decrease of salaries, outstanding pensions and social benefits debt.

The blockade was imposed on Donbass on November 15, 2014 as then president Petr Poroshenko ordered to stop paying social benefits and pensions in the war zone and banned all banks operations there. On January 21, 2015 Kiev introduced a pass system at some highways crossing the contact line.

A new round of economic blockade of Donbass started in January 2017. Former participants of the offensive blocked railroad between Gorskoye and Zolotoye (LPR territory). The radicals said the aim was to interrupt trade with LPR. Later they blocked Svetlanovo station in the vicinity of Pervomaisk, the railroad tracks in the area of occupied Artyemovsk (DPR) and Yasinovataya-Skotovataya stretch.

Ukrainian Rada extremists supported the “trade blockade”, while radicals said the drive shall be permanent. Poroshenko’s response came only in mid-March as he called an extraordinary meeting of the national security and defense council of Ukraine and sharply criticized radicals’ actions. However, that very day he enacted the council’s decision on full transport blockade of Donbass. *ot

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