Kiev cuts all rail, road links to rebel-held areas
17 March, 2017
Ukraine announced a full transport blockade of rebel-held areas in the east of the country last Wednesday by cutting all rail and road connections, news wires reported. "It will be in place until the occupiers return stolen Ukrainian industry to Ukrainian jurisdiction," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told the country's national security council in Kiev. The only exception will be for humanitarian deliveries, he added.
In the recent weeks Poroshenko's government opposed the unofficial economic blockades, organised by nationalist activists around the rebel-held areas. The moves seriously hit trade on both sides, cutting off coal shipments to government-controlled territory and impeding deliveries from the mills and factories that are the east's economic backbone. In retaliation for the blockade, rebel leaders in Donetsk took over the management of 40 factories and coal mines. They include those owned by Rinat Akhmetov, who is regarded as Ukraine's richest person.