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    Tit for Tat: Donetsk Republic Punches Back and Declares Trade Blockade on Kiev

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    After learning to live under an economic blockade on the part of Ukraine, the Donetsk People's Republic decided to respond in kind.

    DONETSK (Sputnik) — The leader of the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR), Alexander Zakharchenko, said Friday that the residents of Donbass have learned to live in a blockade on the part of Ukrainian security officials, and now the DPR is declaring a blockade on Kiev.

    "We are cutting all ties with Ukraine, with which we are at war. Yes, we were selling coal to get money and pay wages here. But due to the fact that we have learned to live in the blockade, we are declaring a blockade on Ukraine," Zakharchenko told reporters.

    In late January, a group of former participants of Ukraine's military operation in Donbass, including Ukrainian lawmakers, blocked on some sections freight railroad links with areas in Donbass not controlled by Kiev. They claimed that any trade with the Donetsk and Lugansk Republics was illegal, and all ongoing trade transportation meant smuggling. The blockade has led to a disruption in anthracite coal supplies to Ukraine, which forced the Ukrainian authorities to introduce emergency measures in the energy sector in order to save resources.

    The Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR) decided to impose receivership regime on Ukrainian enterprises in the area on March 1 in response to the transport blockade.

    The Donbass conflict erupted in April 2014 as a local counter-reaction to the West-sponsored Maidan coup in Kiev that had toppled President Viktor Yanukovych in February. Residents of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions held independence referendums and proclaimed the People's Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Kiev has since been conducting a military operation, encountering stiff local resistance.

    In February 2015, Kiev forces and Donbass independence supporters signed a peace agreement in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. The deal stipulates a full ceasefire, weapons withdrawal from the line of contact in Donbass, as well as constitutional reforms that would give a special status to the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics. Despite the agreement brokered by the Normandy Four states, the ceasefire regime is regularly violated, with both sides accusing each other of multiple breaches, undermining the terms of the accord.

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    Tags:
    blockade, Donetsk People's Republic, Ukrainian crisis, Alexander Zakharchenko, Donbass, Donetsk, Ukraine
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