Auszüge aus dem Bericht des Koordinationsbüros der Vereinten Nationen für humanitäre Hilfe (OCHA)
On 25 January, a group of ATO veterans launched a blockade of railway communications between GCA and NGCA [Anmerkung der Redaktion der Ukraine-Analysen: GCA – Government-controlled areas, NGCA – non-Government-controlled areas], demanding the release of prisoners of war by de facto authorities. The blockade shut down three out of four railway crossing points, with the combined capacity of 9 million tons of coal transported per year. The blockade primarily affects the delivery of anthracite coal from NGCA to GCA, which is used by the thermal power plants (TPPs) in Ukraine to produce electricity. TPPs account for one third of all electricity produced in Ukraine, and about 40 per cent of the coal consumed by TPPs is produced in NGCA of Donetska oblast. To avert an energy crisis, the Government of Ukraine (GOU) declared a state of emergency in the energy market, planned to last from 15 February to 17 March. The temporary emergency measures may be prolonged and potentially include rolling power blackouts. To compensate for the coal shortage, Ukraine has increased the share of nuclear energy in the overall energy balance of the country—from 47 per cent to almost 60 per cent. Yet, it would cost US$550 million to stop using coal from the Donbas and would put an additional burden of approximately US$40 million in unemployment allowance to thousands of potentially affected people. By 21 February, Ukraine’s Metinvest mining and steel company put on hold the operations of its two enterprises: “Krasnodonugol” coke plant (Luhansk NGCA) and Yenakiieve steel plant (Donetsk NGCA). Tens of thousands of jobs are at stake, though the company announced it will retain workers and pay 75 per cent of salaries.
In addition to the railway blockade, on 16 February, ATO veterans blocked a motorway (Lysychansk to Zolote), signifying the alarming expansion of the blockade. On 24 February, the ‘right sector’ veterans set up a checkpoint near the crossing point Novotroitske, and on 2 March they further installed another checkpoint along the Kurakhove-Marinka highway, which could affect humanitarian cargo delivery. The economic impact of the blockade is likely to affect ordinary Ukrainians in many locations, with at least half a million of jobs are at risk and negative repercussions likely to affect some 1.5 million people – family members of former employees of energy enterprises included, and fuel social tensions. According to the Minister of Social Policy (MoSP), the blockade may lead to a 30 percent increase of electricity and other utility costs for Ukrainians.
Meanwhile, by the end of February, de facto authorities announced a plan to seize control of the enterprises in areas under their control and cease the coal delivery to Ukraine in case the transport blockade is not withdrawn. The plan started coming into effect on 1 March, when de facto authorities ‘nationalized’ some 40 Ukrainian enterprises in Donetsk NGCA, according to “DPR” Head, Alexander Zakharchenko. A telecommunication provider, Ukrtelecom, informed about suspension of telephone services in NGCA since 1 March, caused by interruption into the work and occupation of their office by armed groups. The company had to cut off some 200,000 subscribers. The so-called “Ministry of communication of DPR” have started to restore telephone and internet connection on 2 March. Meanwhile, on 2 March, the Cabinet of Ministers discussed an order, further regulating trade exchanges across the ‘contact line’, including humanitarian aid.
Quelle: OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin, Ukraine, Issue 16, 1 January–28 February 2017, <https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/system/files/documents/files/ukraine_humanitarian_bulletin_issue_16_jan_feb_2017_en.pdf>
Auszüge aus den Berichten der OSZE-Beobachtermission in der Ukraine
In Kyiv, on 26 December the SMM observed a press conference organized by former Donbas and Aidar battalions, where the speakers announced that they would conduct a trade blockade on areas not under government control as people allegedly being detained in those areas had not been released yet. On the evening of that day on Independence Square the SMM saw a yellow tent with flags of Donbas and Aidar battalions and a national flag and a banner marking the tent as the headquarters of the blockade of trade. The following day the SMM saw seven men (middle aged) wearing camouflage clothes (one with Aidar battalion patch) standing around the tent, some of whom talked to pedestrians. One of the activists present told the SMM that they were recruiting volunteers who would join a trade blockade on areas not under government control along the contact line.
The SMM followed up on reports of a blockade of a railway track near government-controlled Hirske. The railway leads towards the “LPR”-controlled settlements of Donetskyi and Sentianivka (formerly Frunze) (49 and 44km west of Luhansk, respectively). The Mission had observed a train travelling east through Donetskyi on 23 January. The SMM observed that the tracks had been blocked by tree trunks under a bridge on the southern edge of the settlement. About 20 unarmed men wearing camouflage clothing told the Mission that they were veterans from former volunteer battalions. The SMM observed a tent near the blockade site. Three of the men told the SMM that they were against the passage of cargo traffic across the contact line and were seeking to stop all rail traffic or at least to stop smuggling, and to have people in detention in “LPR”-controlled areas released.
In “DPR”-controlled Yenakiieve (41km north-east of Donetsk) a manager at a steel plant told the Mission that if the blockage of railway traffic to and from areas not controlled by the Government continued, the plant’s two blast furnaces would become inoperable within a month. He said that the closure of the factory could endanger up to 15,000 jobs in the steel industry. Three representatives of a power plant in government-controlled Mykolaivka (95km north of Donetsk) told the SMM that the blockade affected coal supplies to the plant which provided heating for about 15,000 people. The men went on to say that the power plant was dependent on a type of coal found in areas not controlled by the Government.
Following up allegations of an additional blockade point in Donetsk region, the SMM observed 15 railway wagons, some of which were loaded with coal, standing on the tracks near government-controlled Verkhnotoretske. A resident told the SMM that the wagons had been present there for about one week.
(…) In Kyiv the SMM spoke with two of the co-ordinators of the blockade in Donetsk and Luhansk regions who explained that the blockade was initiated by volunteers of the civic organization, “Interior corps of Donbas and Aidar battalions”, to stop what they said were smuggling schemes. The representative stated that their demands were the release of all those detained in areas not controlled by the Government and the adoption of legislation by the Parliament regarding these areas. They alleged that more could have been done to find alternative sources of fuel in the last three years. One of the representatives stated that a new blockade site would be established near Zolote.
At a briefing headed by senior representatives of DTEK energy company in Kyiv the speaker stated that three of four railroad supply routes between government and non-government-controlled areas had been blocked since the beginning of February. He went on to say that difficulties in supplying anthracite coal, mined in areas not controlled by the Government, could ultimately lead to cuts in electricity and heating for tens of thousands of people and a loss of employment for even more on both sides of the contact line.
At the Yasynuvata railway station the SMM saw over 350 stationary cargo train carriages full of coal, none of which was connected to a locomotive.
(…) In Kyiv, the SMM monitored a rally outside of the Parliament building. The SMM saw some 1,800 people protesting in support of the blockade in the east. The Mission saw about 200 law-enforcement officers present around the Parliament and noted 40 additional law-enforcement buses parked in the adjacent Mariinski Park. The event ended without incidents.
The director of the coal mine located in “LPR”-controlled Verhulivka (61km west of Luhansk) told the SMM that the coal mine was operational, but the extracted coal was stored in the warehouse, because it was not possible to transfer the coal to government-controlled areas due to the blockade. The director of the Komsomolets Donbassa coal mine in “DPR”-controlled Khrestivka (former Kirovske, 35km north-east of Donetsk) told the SMM that they were still able to deliver coal by train to the Luhanska TES thermal power plant in Shchastia, but did not receive supplies, such as machinery spare parts, wood for mine shafts and lubricants from government-controlled areas due to the blockade.
The SMM followed up on reports of the closure of humanitarian aid distribution centres. At a cultural centre in Horlivka where a Rinat Akhmetov Foundation centre was located, the director of the cultural centre told the SMM that the foundation had closed its office on 28 February. The SMM saw armed men at the spot. A representative of the foundation said that aid distribution centres in Donetsk region, both in government- and non-government-controlled areas, had been closed.
In Horlivka, an “UkrteleKom” office staff member told the SMM that as of 1 March, the landline phone connection and internet to government-controlled areas had been switched off and as of 2 March, the landline phone and radio transmission were operational only inside “DPR”-controlled areas, while internet connectivity had not been restored. He added that until 1 March, the company, which was privately owned, had been registered according to Ukrainian legislation and paid taxes to Ukraine’s budget, but would be taken over.
A representative of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation told the SMM that activities only in non-government-controlled areas had been suspended.
The SMM followed up on media reports that certain companies would be placed under “temporary administration” if not “registered” in non-government-controlled areas. On 2 March, a DTEK Sverdlovantratsyt representative in “LPR”-controlled Dovzhansk (formerly Sverdlovsk, 60km south-east of Luhansk) told the SMM that company executives had instructed employees to stay home until further notice. On 3 March, at a Metinvest Group metallurgical factory in “DPR”-controlled Yenakiieve (41km north-east of Donetsk), a company representative said the factory management had not received any notice in relation to “temporary administration”.
Seven men and two women told the SMM that they were farmers from Poltava region who were participating in the blockade “to bring down the oligarchs and stop monopolies” and to achieve the release of detainees in areas not controlled by the Government.
In Bakhmut (formerly Artemivsk, 67km north of Donetsk) the Mission observed more than 20 railway wagons transporting clay through the blockade. Four men in military-style clothes told the Mission that the leadership of the blockade had agreed with a local business to allow trains to carry clay from Kurdiumivka (54km north of Donetsk) to Bakhmut. The men said they were also allowing passenger trains operating only in government-controlled areas to pass through. One of the men said he lived and worked in Bakhmut and volunteered at the blockade on his days off.
Two employees (men, aged about 30 and 50) of a coal mine in “LPR”-controlled Brianka (46km south-west of Luhansk) told the SMM that the mine had stopped production on 21 February due to the blockade.