March 22, 2017 – Fort Russ News –
– Sputnik France, translated by Tom Winter –
|Armed Donetsk miner. Illustration from Russia Forever (Rosiya na vsegda)|
Shipments of coal to Russia have begun, Alexander Zakharchenko, President of the self-proclaimed People’s Republic of Donetsk, told reporters. This, following on the heels of the commercial blockade of Donbass organized by Ukrainian radicals at the end of January.
After the Ukrainian radicals imposed their rail blockade on Donbass, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) took up the delivery of this fuel to Russia Tuesday [March 14].
“Let us remember, where did this production used to go? It went to Russia,” said Alexander Zakharchenko, the leader of the republic. “Yes, it’s a tough process that will take up to three months. But today, the first 95 cars are gone. This is a test lot.”
There are, however, some bureaucratic and marketing difficulties, but these problems are being resolved, Zakharchenko added.
Meanwhile in Kiev, a demonstration to support the commercial blockade of the Donbass was held Tuesday night. Hundreds of people gathered in the Maidan Square to call for the continuation of the blockade and even to invite the volunteers to strengthen it.
The Ukrainian radicals began the Donbass rail blockade at the end of January, disrupting coal deliveries from the region. The self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk responded by setting up external management of companies under Ukrainian jurisdiction. Further, on Friday March 3, the leader of the DPR Alexander Zakharchenko announced a trade blockade against Kiev.
The shortage of coal has forced Kiev to introduce extraordinary measures to conserve energy resources. According to Prime Minister Vladimir Groïsmann, the blockade of Donbass will cost Ukraine dearly: the country will lose 3.3 billion euros in revenue and 75,000 jobs.
At the end of February the leaders of the People’s Republics adopted a joint declaration informing Kiev that coal deliveries would not resume, and that companies under Ukrainian jurisdiction would be placed under external management if the blockade was not lifted before 1st of March.
Kiev did not react to this statement.