BLOCKAGE OF THE EECPS BY RUSSIA DETERIORATES THE HUMANITARIAN SITUATION IN OCCUPIED DONETSK, LUHANSK OBLASTS AND CRIMEA
The decision of the Russian-controlled occupation administrations in the temporarily occupied districts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts to significantly restrict movement across the contact line has been strongly criticized by citizens who are now held hostage by the occupying force and are in a difficult economic situation. This is evidenced by reactions in social networks, information from non-governmental and human rights organizations and information from relatives in the Government-controlled area (GCA).
In particular, on November 10, according to the agreements reached by the leaders of the Normandy Format in Paris last year and finalized in the Trilateral Contact Group, two new EECPs were to be opened simultaneously in Luhansk oblast, in Zolote and Shchastia cities. The Ukrainian side, caring primarily about citizens, fulfilled all obligations and did everything possible to open the EECPs on time. Instead, the occupation administration in Luhansk oblast refused to open the movement under a false pretext. Currently, the movement takes place only through the EECP "Stanytsia Luhanska" (336 persons crossed the EECP in the direction of the temporarily occupied districts of Luhansk oblasts, and 374 persons entered the free territory of Ukraine on November 12).
The same situation occurred in Donetsk oblast, from the side of GCA all 4 EECPs were ready to allow people to cross, but the occupation administration only twice a week in a very limited regime allows only one EECP to work, in Novotroitske settlement (14 persons crossed the EECP in the direction of the temporarily occupied districts of Donetsk oblasts, and 16 persons entered the free territory of Ukraine on November 12).
"The actions of the occupation administrations are illogical. Moreover, by blocking the EECP, the occupation "authorities" deprive many families of the only stable source of income, Ukrainian pensions and social payments. Of course, all payments during quarantine are saved and transferred to the bank cards. Even Oshchadbank prolonged the validity of expired cards. But today people already have the opportunity to get their money, but the occupation regimes are doing everything they can to prevent this from happening. We see from the statistics of ATMs near Stanytsia Luhanska district, that these funds are vital for people," said Oleksii Reznikov, Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, Minister for Reintegration of the Temporary Occupied Territories.
It should be noted that on November 10, a modern service hub with Administrative Service Centre and many other services was opened at the EECP in Shchastia city. In particular, there is a branch of Oschadbank, which is ready to serve 2000 persons a day, as well as ATMs. But the occupation administration has blocked people's access to pensions. "We have drawn the attention of our international partners and OSCE mediators. We hope that the movement in Shchastia and Zolote cities will start soon," emphasized Reznikov.
The Ukrainian side is working to lift the blockage in Donetsk oblast as well. After all, in mid-December, a similar multifunctional service hub with Administrative Service Centre and a branch of Oschadbank will be opened at EECP in Novotroitske settlement.
"The situation is critical and people understand it. They are tired of living as hostages in occupation regimes. They do not receive salaries or pensions. The Alchevsk Metallurgical Plant issued only 15% of the wages for August. And it is already November. Many enterprises are closing down, debts are accumulating, and significant job cuts are being prepared, which will be thousands of new unemployed persons. I have already noted that it is more and more difficult for Russia to keep the occupied areas of Donbas purely economically. Even in its controlled so-called "ministries", "state committees" and others in the temporarily occupied districts of Donetsk oblast, Russia is planning cuts, out of 10 000 jobs will remain just over 5000 in the near future. There are two indicative moments here, which show the depth of the crisis. First, it is an attempt to save money on those who are part of the occupation administration. Even they are already short on funds. Secondly, Russia keeps saying that "it isn't there", but the job cuts is planned in such a way, that in the result there will be a structure similar to the administration in Rostov oblast, because it is easier to give instructions to the militants they have appointed to "manage". And of course, it is easier to continue to devastate the region. That is another proof of Russia's presence and influence, along with the fact that the occupation military contingent in ORDLO is subordinate to the Southern Military District headquarters of the Russian Federation. And Russia can no longer disguise it. The consequence will definitely be the responsibility," noted Reznikov.
He stressed that there is a catastrophic situation in Crimea too. Because Russia does not allow not only residents of Crimea - citizens of Ukraine to leave for mainland Ukraine, but also blocks any access to the occupied Crimea for international monitoring and international humanitarian organizations.
"Such actions of the aggressor-state can lead to significant deterioration of epidemiological situation on the territory of occupied Crimea," added Reznikov.
Let us recall that seven EECPs launched their work from 8:00 am on November 10 in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts of Ukraine, five existing EECPs resumed their work and two more new ones started their work, but the Russian-controlled occupation administrations continue to block the EECPs from the side of TOT.
Service hub was also opened in Shchastia city right at the EECP, where citizens can obtain the full range of administrative and social services.