An idea to impose a blockade on self-proclaimed Ukrainian republics contradicts the Minsk reconciliation plan and will only cause further escalation of tensions, Russia’s OSCE envoy said.

 

“The idea to impose a humanitarian blockade on Donbass contradicts the essence of the Minsk Package of measures. A humanitarian blockade attempt is fraught with escalation of conflict and new tensions along the line of contact,” Russia’s OSCE envoy Alexander Lukashevich said.

 

“Kiev’s political sponsors need to exert their influence on the Ukrainian government as soon as possible in order to prevent the blockade and deterioration of the situation,” he said, adding that the idea “shows that the radicals do not see eastern Ukrainians as their compatriots.”

 

According to media reports a number of ex-members of the so-called volunteer battalions, previously involved in the Kiev government’s punitive operation in the east, announced a “total blockade of the occupied territories” Monday. Commenting on the announcement, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council Alexander Turchinov said the decision can be made by the president alone and ruled out any “improvised cordons” in the area.

 

The self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk have been under a de-facto blockade since November 15, 2014, when President Pyotr Poroshenko signed a decree to freeze social payments and banking services in the zone of conflicts. Leaders of the self-proclaimed republics described the move as “an act of genocide.” In 2015, the Kiev government prohibited deliveries of all goods to areas outside its control.