Kiev is ready for a violent scenario
On Tuesday, February 28, the Minister of internal Affairs of Ukraine Arsen Avakov asked the Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman and the anti-terrorist center (ATTS) additional powers for power lifting of the trade blockade of Donbass. If the decision is made, the interior Ministry forces and the national guard of Ukraine, their implementation will provide, quotes Avakov, the Ukrainian edition “Strenia”.
The Prime Minister Groysman, blockade of Donbass is aimed “against Ukraine.” “I don’t know those blocks, but those who organizes, I know. And even guess who is helping them. But it is against Ukraine”, — he said (quoted by “Segodnya”). At the request Avakov Groisman did not answer.
A trade blockade of the DNI and the LC, including the railway, the soldiers of the Ukrainian volunteer battalions began in late December of last year. It involved members of the Ukrainian Parliament Yegor Sobolev, semen Semenchenko of the opposition faction “Self-help”.
Representatives of the headquarters of the trade embargo on February 28 stated that at one of the checkpoints armed clashes between the participants of the blockade and unknown people in masks. According to the report, “armed titushki” assaulting “the redoubt of the blockade in a curved End 16-th volunteer battalion”. “To cover there are pensioner and cameras, the police is completely inactive”, — stated in the message. The attackers tried to capture the locomotives with coal, one of the defenders of the post received a slight stab wound to the leg. The staff assumed that the attackers can be employees of one of security firms of the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov and businessman Victor Nusenkis.
From rolling blackouts to expropriate
The blockade of supplies of goods with non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions by the forces of ATO soldiers and deputies escalated in mid-February, when they blocked the supply of coal from the Donbass to Ukraine. The Minister of energy and coal industry of Ukraine Igor Nasalik drew attention to the fact that, if the supply of anthracite coal will not be renewed, the country faces massive electricity blackouts.
Now, however, Ukraine is still facing the loss of enterprises located in the territories of the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk national republics. On 27 February, the leaders of the republics Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Carpenter stated that they intend to enter external management on all Ukrainian enterprises on the territory of the republics, if the transport blockade is not lifted to 0:00 Wednesday (1 March 2017). All businesses, according to them, are then “diverted to the Russian market.”
Blow to Akhmetov
One of the main targets of this conflict — the Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, said the source close to the leadership of one of the factions of the Verkhovna Rada. “He refused to support the separatists, has repeatedly spoken publicly in support of a unified Ukraine, which, naturally, didn’t like neither the leaders of the DNI or their supervisors,” he says.
On 28 February it became known that in Donetsk, armed men seized the Donbass arena — the stadium of football club “Shakhtar”, owned by Akhmetov’s SCM. From mid-2014 the football matches there are with Aug 2014 it earned the Rinat Akhmetov humanitarian centre, an outstanding aid to civilians in the region.
As reported a press-service of staff, “armed men blocked the distribution center on the “Donbass Arena” and the points of issue of humanitarian center of Rinat Akhmetov on temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine”. The staff noted that they lack information about the reasons for such action. Premises, equipment and humanitarian aid staff blocked, the volunteer staff don’t have access to them, added the organization. Besides, according to the Ukrainian edition “news of Donbass”, Director of “Donbass Arena” was taken by armed men, of workers removed from the stadium and banned from returning.
According to the interlocutor in the Parliament, “before the company Akhmetov in Donetsk, do not touch”. The Donbass arena has suffered only once from the blast struck one of the glass wall of the stadium. Not been destroyed or ransacked and his personal mansion,” says the source.
The press Secretary of the head of DNR Alexander Zakharchenko Alena Alekseeva also refused to comment on the seizure of the stadium “Donbass arena” in Donetsk. In this case, Alekseev has reminded that since March 1, at the enterprises of the Ukrainian jurisdiction, which are not registered on the territory of the DNI, will be introduced external control procedure. “This applies to all companies that are in the Ukrainian jurisdiction. Is in Ukrainian jurisdiction the stadium, I don’t know,” said the press Secretary of the head of DND.
The enterprise in question
All companies United in Akhmetov’s SCM group. According the official websites of the SCM and of the affiliated companies DTEK and Metinvest, in the territory of the breakaway DNI and LC is the 47 companies of the group. On the group’s assets Akhmetov has about 120 thousand people. “This is a large share of the Empire Akhmetov, a good factories and enterprises, the basis of the holding. If he loses, it will be bankrupt,” says Ukrainian economist Oleg Soskin.
From the group “Metinvest” in the “risk group” consists of ten mining and metallurgical companies. The largest of them — Komsomolsky mine, Khartsyzsk pipe plant, Yenakiyevo steel plant (YeMZ). The latter, according to the press service of “Metinvest”, has suspended its work in connection with the territorial blockade. According to the report “Metinvest” for the year 2016, yenakiieve steel became the third plant of the group in terms of iron production (1.8 million tonnes) and steel (1.9 MT).
DTEK is also a member of the SKM group may lose power plant, located on the territory of the breakaway republics. According to a source in the Ministry of coal and energy self-proclaimed DND, a temporary administration may be introduced at the enterprises “DTEK Donetskoblenergo”, “DTEK high-voltage networks” and Akhmetov-owned mine, “Zhdanov” and “Komsomolets Donbassa”. “All the other 16 mines on the territory of the Republic already owned by the state,” says the source . Even after the transition under the control of the DNI mines ready to provide DTEK’s companies with raw material, says a source. Part of Akhmetov’s enterprises already have stopped their work, like the source. “Jobs, according to Zakharchenko’s instructions, will be stored one to two months,” says a source in the Department. Later a decision will be made about what to do with the companies continue, he said.
According to estimates by the Chairman of the Association of the Federation of metallurgists of Ukraine Sergey Belenky, closures and transition management in enterprises Akhmetov can manage the budget of Ukraine in the 2.5–3 billion UAH of unpaid taxes. Acting Minister of industry and trade of the self-proclaimed DND Alex Granovsky refused to comment on the entry of the interim administration in these enterprises.
According to Ukrainian political analyst Vadim Karasev occurring signal Akhmetov to “the businessman has connected all its political and informal communication to resolve the situation.” The statements of the representatives LNR and DND on the possible introduction of management in Ukrainian enterprises is the threat of the Ukrainian authorities that they quickly eliminated the blockade and unlock trade, he States.
Rinat Akhmetov came under cross-fire from the breakaway republics and the Ukrainian leadership, it is the result of his policy from the beginning of the events in the Donbass, he tried to balance, I flirted with the Russian and Ukrainian sides, now everything plays against him, says a senior analyst at the Ukrainian International center for policy studies Anatoliy Artisyuk. According to experts, it is possible that his ultimatum LC and DNR want to make Akhmetov to pay for the preservation of enterprises. The Ukrainian authorities are in no hurry to curb the activities of radicals in the hope that Akhmetov will become more negotiability involves Artisyuk. In his opinion, the transition of enterprises under the control of the LC and the DNI will be one more argument for Kiev in favor of non-economic reintegration of Donbass.
Will discuss in Minsk
On Wednesday, March 1, in Minsk scheduled next meeting of the Contact group on Ukraine. As reported to journalists the Russian representative at the talks, Boris Gryzlov, one of the main requirements of Russia — an immediate end to Kiev’s blockade. “The Ukrainian government should support socio-economic development of Donbass”, — he said, adding that “in fact, we are seeing a growing blockade of transport communication”.
Gryzlov warned that Moscow in case of aggravation of the situation ready to response: “I Want to remind you that the Donbass is not an enclave and not an island. We cannot allow the humanitarian and socio-economic disaster in the territories, whose population exceeds the population of several European countries.” Which actions ready Moscow, Gryzlov said.
Featuring Anna Agapova